I remember the first day that I met Vespa. They brought this beautiful chocolate lab down the long driveway at my parent’s house to see if we’d make a good match. It was love at first sight. I admire the way that PADS endeavours to match the personalities of the service dog with the client. They certainly got it spot on!

Vespa was a hard worker, and yet so easy going. She enjoyed a night out on the town or an evening in to nap when I wasn’t feeling well. I never had to feel bad about dragging her along to anything or staying in. She was quite happy to accompany wherever I went and we were never at any loss for people to talk to. People loved to approach us and ask questions or chat and I certainly didn’t mind chatting with strangers. She was a great conversation starter.

I was in a car accident when I was 10 years old, and I have a spinal cord injury. Vespa helped me turn lights on and off, fetch from under tables or on the floor, open doors, and carry bags or items for me. She was a lovely faithful companion for me and we were paired for 9 years together. She eventually retired at my parent’s home and passed away 5 years ago at the ripe age of 14 years.

To this day, I have not had the heart to replace my four-legged soul-mate, who wiggled her butt to such a degree that it was a wonder that she could stay standing at all. I miss our kayak trips where there was just enough space for her to peek out her head, playing fetch, her whimpering dreams that amused entire lecture halls of students, and the faces of restaurant goers who were absolutely shocked when my stealth dog came out from under the table.

Sometimes I feel like Vespa was one of a kind, irreplaceable in my books, but then I have friends that say the same about their own service dogs and I realize that what PADS did for me was nothing short of a match made in heaven.

Help Support Teams Like Nicole & Vespa

All PADS assistance dogs are provided to clients at no cost. Behind each and every success story is a donor who makes this possible.

Tell us your PADS story

We are still accepting stories for our 30 Stories for 30 Years series. Whether you have volunteered, received a dog as a client or adopter, given of your time, money or heart… you are part of the PADS story!  Tell us how being involved with PADS has impacted you.