“Aardvark, inflation and guitar”, three simple words Ron Tymrick, PADS Director of Client Services, asked me to remember during my interview with PADS over 11 years ago. These three words he told me he would ask me at anytime to see if I could recall them. Well Ron, I did and I still do.
When I first met Ranger he just came over beside me and placed his head on my laps looked up and said “Hello…Now what?” Wow, that was the beginning of a great and amazing team!
Ranger was not just a dog; he was, and still is, my hero. He picked me up and gave me the strength to walk outside and do all I needed to do with my life. Every day I wake up, I am reminded of the pain my bone disease has given to me, but he was there to kick me in the butt to say, “Get up and feed me now!”
We did everything together. He was my companion during the pain and the good times.
He never cared how bad I looked, he just loved me, and believe me that makes him a saint by itself.
Living with a disease that is so rare only 200 people in the whole world have it, knowing at anytime a crack to the bone, a facture, a chip can cause your bone to dissolve itself in a matter of months is beyond scary.
I was afraid to live, afraid to walk, afraid to go outside. Ranger gave me back that will to live!
Ranger was in tune with me, he knew when I was in too much pain to do things and he stepped it up and took control. He even knew when I was going to have a migraine, he would place his head on my lap and push at me. That was a sign to me to take a pill and get ready. He was always right. He and I were so in tune, we worked so well together that after a while there was no need for words. He just knew.
Until you live with a Service Dog you do not understand the joy and the inner strength they can give you. Simple and pure, yet so complex. What makes these amazing dogs tick? Heck if I know, I am just thankful they do.
What is a service dog? Ranger! That is what a service dog is to me.
Someone once came up to us and said, “How you can do that to a dog? Let him be a dog.” I looked at her and said, “Ranger is a rock star. He sleeps in five-star hotels and flies bulk head.” How many of you can say you have been patted on the head by Halle Berry or had your picture taken with Vanessa Carlton? Ranger had the life of a dog. He worked yes, but when he was released he had the best of the dog world. He went for many walks, swimming, and off leash areas. He had his favourite spot by the fireplace and his favourite treats. He was the best part of me, my partner.
Ranger loved everyone and I can honestly say whoever met him loved him too. He was a character. He made us all smile, and when you saw him, no matter what or how you were feeling, you just felt better.
He was a large part of our family. He was honestly one of the kids. If we were going somewhere and we said, “Lets go!” Ranger wanted his seat in the van. There were a few arguments with the kids over who got to ride in the back row! Ranger won nine times out of 10. He helped us all. When anyone dropped anything it was Ranger to the rescue. He would look back at me to make sure I was OK and off he went to get that remote. Ranger and I were made for each other. He loved to pick things up and I was a naturally gifted dropper. A team made in heaven, I dropped, he picked up. He was never without a job.
I am hollow now. I lost a part of me when Ranger moved to the other side of the rainbow bridge. Empty, cold, lonely, scared, heartbroken are only a few words to describe how I feel inside. I remember him with a tear and a smile. I know he had an amazing life and he was loved beyond words. He will always walk with me and be by my side. Sleep by my bedside. I still feel his cold wet nose on my hand in the morning saying OK time to get going.
In the last year of his life he slowed down and I felt I had more time with him. It was not so. I had to say to my best friend “See you again soon,” I refused to say goodbye because goodbye is forever.
When Ranger retired a few years ago, I should have moved right away to get another dog. But, Ranger still had the work in him and I felt we were a team and I wanted it to be just him and me, forever. I know now it is time to move ahead and welcome a new PADS dog to my family. I owe it to the best PADS dog ever — my best friend, my hero, my Ranger.
– Karen Friolet and Ranger
Note: This testimonial was written by Karen Friolet within a week of the passing of PADS’ Service Dog Ranger. She asked that we share this letter and the photos of Ranger she sent us to let all the wonderful puppy raisers, sitters, volunteers & supporters involved in his life know the assistance, the joy and comfort he brought to her world in life. Karen is now on the list awaiting a new PADS’ Service Dog.