Anna Bellemore seeks support from a service dog


Provided by Anna Bellemore

A service dog similar to one Bellemore will receive.

James Farley, Co-Sports Editor

Around the world, dogs are typically a household pet that many owners take for a daily walk, play with in the yard, and give a treat to at night.  Whether they are Golden Retrievers, Black Labs, or German Shepards, dogs are always a fun and loving pet one can rely on.

However, one loyal companion will benefit WA Freshman Anna Bellemore more than just any other dog, as she is looking to receive a service dog to aid her throughout her daily life.  For her entire life, Bellemore has been affected by the difficulties of having the Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, which affects in ways such as not being able to balance properly, naturally pick up dropped items, and not being able to casually stand up.

“The disease causes nerve damage and weaker muscles which deteriorate over time,” Bellemore said.

Bellemore faces the setbacks of this disease on a daily basis, making everyday actions extremely fatiguing and frustrating.  However, an opportunity to receive a service dog has recently arisen with the possibility to positively change her life.

“I first thought of a service dog being able to help me when I saw that someone else with the same disease as me was getting a service dog.  I started doing a lot of research on how a service dog could help me,” Bellemore said.  “I looked at organizations that provide service dogs to people under the age of 18, and I am very happy I found Little Angels Service Dogs, [as] they train mobility support dogs and provide dogs to kids under 18.”

Bellemore is currently in the fundraising process, looking to raise enough money to pay for the perfect service dog.

“[Little Angels Service Dogs] requires members to fundraise $38,000 before we can be placed with our service dog. So far my family has started a Go Fund Me and we will also be doing other activities such as a raffle and other fundraisers,” Bellemore said.

With the help of people willing to donate, Bellemore hopes to raise the needed $38,000 to begin the next chapter of her life with the aid of a service dog.  This is the link to Bellemore’s Go Fund Me page to raise money for a service dog:

Bellemore will be allowed to take the service dog everywhere she goes, including school.  Having a reliable service dog will be beneficial for Bellemore in many ways, assisting to needs both big and small whenever necessary.

“My service dog would be trained to assist me in what is called Mobility Assistance Tasks,”  Bellemore said.  “Every day I have a hard time with tasks as easy as walking. The dog will help me when walking by providing me with balance support, and bracing so if I fall I could use the dog’s harness to help me get up.”

Due to facing the Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, Bellemore is at times unable to move around comfortably.  With a service dog, many of these issues would be annulled.

“Some of the things the dog would be trained to help me with are bracing and balancing,” Bellemore said.  “If I fall down somewhere where there is nothing for me to hold onto to get back up, I have a hard time getting up. The dog would stand next to me and stay still so I could use the dog as support to stand back up,”

Properly walking for extended periods of time is another aspect of life that frequently troubles Bellemore.  Yet similar to bracing and balancing, a service dog would assist her in this regard, as well.

“I often trip over my own feet and don’t walk in a straight line, causing me to bump into other people or items, such as walls or chairs,” Bellemore said.  “While walking with the dog I would hold the handle which will provide balance so I can walk in a straighter line without tripping.  By having more balance while walking I will be able to walk faster and keep up with my friends and family.”

Picking up dropped items is another action a service dog would help Bellemore with, saving her from unnecessary pain and exhaustion.

To go along with aiding Bellemore with bracing, balancing, and picking up items, a service dog would be advantageous on an emotional level, as well.

“Sometimes if I’m out in public I need to sit down and take a break because my legs get really tired, but there isn’t always somewhere to sit, so at times I have to sit on the ground. The stares I get from other people can sometimes cause me anxiety,” Bellemore said.  “The dog will be trained for Deep Pressure Therapy, also known as DPT, so if I am out in public and for whatever reason I get anxious, the dog can perform DPT where they lay over me and the pressure [of the dog] relieves anxiety.”

With the help of a service dog everyday, Bellemore will not only have easier experiences when active, but will be happier, too.

“I’m very excited because I know that having a service dog is going to improve my quality of life. With my disease, there is no cure and the disease doesn’t go away, so all I can do is find ways to manage pain and keep positive and happy,” Bellemore said.  “With a service dog, the struggles I deal with while out in public will be eliminated. Just while walking I have to think of every step I take, but with the service dog guiding me, I won’t have to think as much and I can enjoy my time.”