“Emmett is like one of my children, he’s my fourth son. It’s a privilege. I’d probably put up with this… I’d ask for this, just to be a part of his life.”
David had owned his retail pharmacy in Parnell for 30 years when one day he got a pneumococcal septicaemic infection and life as he knew it changed forever.
The infection caused gangrene to spread and required David to have both of his arms and legs amputated. The gangrene spread quickly causing him to lose part of his ears and nose as well.
After major rehabilitation David defied all odds and got himself walking and driving again, and then went back at work. However, managing a very busy pharmacy with no limbs was just too much and David had a stroke. It was after that set back David that had to stop driving and stop working.
Emmett is David’s first Mobility Dog and their partnership began 9 years ago. David remembers their first few weeks together being wonderful. Due to his prosthetic arms David was unable to pat Emmett which made it hard for him to be tactile – which is an essential part of the connection process with a dog. So in the first few days together Dale would help David remove his arms and Emmett was allowed on the bed for a short time at the start of their relationship in order to help build the special bond that can seen between them today.
“He does many tasks, he opens doors, barks for help – but the biggest thing he does for me is that he makes me confident in the community.”
David finds that with Emmett he can go anywhere, and that people will come and talk to him rather shying away – and this is especially true with children.
“People in the community will approach me. I feel different with a dog – I get to know so many people. Being part of the community is very important to me.”
Emmett helps David in many ways around the house by barking for help when he’s needs it, he opens interior doors and he also opens the front door, plus he looks out for dangerous objects in David’s path.
Emmett not only assists David with day to day tasks, but he also brings emotional and psychological benefits. “Emmett gives me something else to think about rather than just my own needs. I must think about when he needs a brush, to be fed, wormed. Emotionally and psychologically that’s huge.”
“The best part about having Emmett is the companionship.” David finds having him close at night very comforting. He will stay by his side during the day, sit at his feet in the evening and then sleep on his bed in their bedroom at night.
David and his wife Dale love to travel and to eat out and Emmett is a constant companion in their adventures. He goes with them everywhere they go – including fine dining at the Mission Estate vineyard in Napier, around parts of the South Island and on their regular mini-breaks to the beaches north of Auckland.
Emmett not only looks after David, but he is also very tuned into Dale. On Emmett’s second day with David he picked up Dales slippers and bought them over to her, and he has continued to do so. Somehow Emmett knows that if he is going to care for David then part of his job is to care for Dale also.
David describes Emmett’s personality as empathetic, incredibly loyal to him and to the people he loves, and playful! He is an incredibly well-loved member of the family. David and Dales sons, their wives and their children all comment regularly about how much they love him. David’s granddaughter has been known to dress Emmett up on many occasions and he just sits there calmly.
“Having a Mobility dog has made a huge difference to my life.”
To help people like David be partnered with wonderful companions and friends like Emmett please support Mobility Dogs and donate now.