Gege — Service

Sponsor: Lulu's Fund
Location: Buffalo, New York

In 2015, my service dog Gege went above and beyond with her job. She started acting out of the ordinary, following me to the restroom and sniffing. I thought she was just acting odd. But the more I had pain in my bladder, the more persistent she was. One day, she sniffed as usual and sat down next to me shaking. I went to touch her and she ran from me, sitting in the shower shaking and crying. Upon having a cystoscopy done, my urologist confirmed I had stage one bladder cancer. We were shocked. I was told it was one of the hardest cancers to find and that my service dog saved my life. I had surgery and frequent rechecks and in September 2018, Gege started acting odd again. When we went for my recheck that month, my cancer was back. Stage one again.
The irony of her literally saving my life is that I never actually meant for her to be my service dog. I got Gege at 7 months old with the intention of competing in agility and other sports with her. But she was always glued to me, not wanting me out of her sight. Around 2 years old, she seemed to be more in tune to my mental health issues, so I started shaping tasks. Item retrieval helps me with cleaning up so I don’t have to bend over, as I still have pain due to the cancer surgery. I have multiple physical health issues and her tasks help me so much on a daily basis.
Before becoming my service dog, I struggled with finding a reason to live. Gege gave me one. She saved my life and continues to every day. She is my sunshine.

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