Originally published on the BFM blog.
The most famous line about the moon is the one uttered by Neil Armstrong when he first touched the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. He said, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
For disabled service dog named Luna, one small step is a giant leap for disabled canine kind.
We first heard about Luna when fur parent Heather, who was a deaf-mute, asked about purchasing a Best Friend Mobility SitGo for her service dog. They lived in Puerto Rico, and she was uncertain if we would deliver there. We assured her that we do, and provided her with other information about her purchase.
Aside from wondering a bit about how a disabled dog could be a service animal that was the end of the conversation. And then we got to talking.
We learned that Luna, and Heather for that matter, were not always disabled. A tragic pedestrian-car accident in 2016 landed Heather in a coma and the loss of her hearing, and lifelong difficulties for Luna. She went flying when the car hit them, and broke both her hips.
Prior to the accident, Luna was a happy, energetic dog who had a lot of fun with fellow canine Toby. She enjoyed life like any other canine in a loving home.
Luna eventually recovered enough mobility to become a service dog for Heather. Everything seemed fine, but they were hit by a car again in 2021. Luna was in bad shape, and this time she did not recover quite as well. Despite physical therapy, she lost most of her mobility in her rear legs.
Heather says that sometimes Luna forgets she’s disabled. “I would put her in a harness to lift her back legs so she can walk using her front legs. She wants to run; she forgets her back legs are not working.” It is heartbreaking for any fur parent to see their pets in such a situation.
Heather decided to bring her to Tera-Pet, a well-known veterinary clinic in Puerto Rico that uses alternative rehab methods such as water therapy, laser, TENS, acupuncture, and acupressure to help Luna regain some of her mobility. But the clinic was almost two hours away, so the vet taught heather how to do some of the therapies herself.
It seemed to work! By the time Luna got her SitGo, she was able to stand by herself a few minutes at a time. With the SitGo, she was able to walk again, although she didn’t take to it at first. A bag of chicharones did the trick! With bribe in hand, Heather lured her to walk, and she did it quite well.
Luna is famous in her own right in the blind and cancer communities. She even has a federal ADA lawyer advocating for the rights of disabled patients to have their service animals with them in hospitals. Heather sued one hospital that removed Luna from the premises even though she was clearly a service dog.
Today, Heather and Luna are working hard with the therapy and learning to use the SitGo and her waterproof wheelchair. Luna continues to be Heather’s service dog, and has the uniform to prove it!
We give kudos to Heather for being such a wonderful fur parent. Good luck, Luna, and I hope you put your SitGo wheelchair to good use!
You can follow Luna’s story through her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Luna-Negra-509688152791734/?_rdr.