Skye lives with constant pain from neuropathy in her feet, degenerative joint disease in her knees and hips, pain in her back and “hands that don’t work well”. After a career evaluating disability claims for people living on social security, Skye retired in 2003 and, in consultation with her doctor, decided it would be a good for her to find an assistance dog to help her retrieve things dropped on the floor and, in an emergency, to bring her the portable phone to call for help.
Skye chose Summit because of “the care they take with the dogs and the people to ensure the dogs and the people are a good match”. Fortunately, for Skye, Carmel became available shortly thereafter. Carmel is a “petite lady golden retriever” who will be 6 in July and was in need of a quieter life; this suits Skye just fine!
Little did either of them know that the first day home after their training class would provide Carmel’s first test. Skye – full of enthusiasm – took Carmel into the yard to explore and fell over. After crawling from the bushes, Skye told Carmel to “Go get Deb!” (Skye’s neighbor). Even though she’d not been trained the command, Carmel knew what to do. Deb remembers seeing a “6ft yeti” at her door and rushed to Skye to assist her.
Most days aren’t so dramatic and, if the weather’s good and Skye’s up for it, the two of them ride out to collect their neighbor’s 6-year old daughter from the school bus. Both Skye and Carmel get some exercise and, as Skye said “Children get sucked into those soft, brown eyes”.