Harry has changed my life in so many ways. Many of these are very small and seemingly insignificant, but when added all together they have such a positive influence on me and those around me.
My first concussion occurred at the end of 2009 when I fell down a flight of stairs at school. The second one was 10 years later. This time I fell backwards and hit my head on a monument while working with students.
Concussion left me anxious, unsteady, exhausted and prone to headaches. Although I was still able to function in most capacities, it was hard work and I was always tired. There was little enjoyment in my life. Harry changed this dramatically.
Now, Harry is a constant. His primary function is to provide me with physical stability. He holds me up, slows me down if I am rushing, allows me to look up and creates space around me. I no longer fear falling or being knocked, even on stairs. My light sensitivity has diminished and my headaches and exhaustion are much more manageable. I have so much more energy.
Harry takes care of many of the little things that concussion affects.
The most far reaching effects are those I can’t quantify. He makes me happy, relaxes me and helps me in social interactions. I feel more positive about life because he is with me.
The impact of Harry on those around me has been the most surprising and rewarding. Harry is a part of my family. He is loved and made himself very much at home. At school Harry has taken to the role of mascot, therapy dog, friend and talking point with gusto. He brings joy to my classroom and ‘Harry cuddles’ are a part of many students’ (and staffs’) day. Harry seems to know who needs comfort and connection. At the end of lessons, he often goes to check in on students. He has provided a talking point for students to go home and start conversations with their parents. Also there is very little fear associated with meeting with the dean now. Students come to visit with Harry. When a student is very upset, Harry provides the comfort and contact they need. We often sit on the floor with Harry and are able to discuss issues much more deeply and quickly. Harry bridges the gap between teacher and students – we bond over our love and enjoyment of ‘our’ Mobility Dog.