Finn — Service

Sponsor: Lulu's Fund
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Finn is my difference between existing and living. As I often say (or sing) to him, he is my sunshine when skies are gray; I suppose that’s true both figuratively & literally.

The winter was particularly snowy the year I turned 30 (2010). It seemed to last for years as I went through chemotherapy for breast cancer, underwent multiple surgeries, radiation, and anti-hormonal treatments until 2015. When my oncologist told me he believed my chance of recurrence to be virtually zero, the ice began to melt. I am cancer-free. And, despite the depression, anxiety & physical pain, despite the heart and eye damage caused by treatment, to be alive today is well worth it all.

But, living with heart failure & cardiomyopathy, cataracts & vision loss, long-term effects of chemo, I was existing; I missed living. So, in 2015, a young, blond puppy arrived & because I live so near an organization named Wagmor Service Dogs, I was able to raise, train with, and in 2016, graduate with, a handsome, funny, brilliant, loving, very much-loved Golden Retriever — my sweet Finn.

We are, officially, a Hearing Service Dog Team. (I was Hard of Hearing before cancer). Finn alerts me to sounds I can’t hear — a knock at the door, a smoke alarm’s squeal. In harness, he guides me safely in dim & bright light & keeps me moving. He helps me through anxiety attacks.

Finn’s sun shines so brightly, I often forget those gray winter days existed at all. It is truly magnificent to experience life again.

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