Sunday, November 15, 2015

Meet Leni!

So here's the promised post properly introducing Leni and what she does for me! I tried to cover what I thought would be FAQs, but if I skipped something you really want to know, please ask!

What's her name?

Her full name is Lenore, but we have permanently shortened it to Leni. She and two of her siblings (also service dogs) were named after Edgar Allen Poe stuff.  She has a sister named Raven and a brother named Edgar.

What does she do?

LOTS! Haha, she has gone through almost 9 months of professional training with an organization that places service dogs. She know basic obedience (sit, down, stay, etc.) as well as specific tasks that are to help me when I need her. She can identify my Epi pen in a pile of items and bring it to me. She can open drawers and cabinets to bring me medications. She lies next to me with her head on my chest if I pass out to keep me from getting up too soon. She uses her paws to put light pressure on my stomach when it is swollen to help reduce the pressure and pain. She picks up anything off the floor so I don't have to bend down if I'm having a super dizzy day and want to avoid passing out. And, of course, the primary reason we got her is the ability she has as a dog to detect scent changes in my body that indicate my blood sugar is dropping or I am on the verge of a mast cell reaction. She will alert me to those changes so I can treat BEFORE my symptoms become severe so I can keep my symptoms minimal or from developing at all.

She's so well behaved! Is she always like that?

Not at all!! Haha, as a service dog, she knows her job. When she is wearing her vest and we are out in public, she knows how she is expected to act. At home...that's a different story! She is only  a year and a half old, so still very much a puppy. She is a huge fan of squeaky toys (which get confiscated every evening about 9pm...), loves to run, and thinks puddles are the best ever. 

How does Bonk like her?

He's still getting used to the idea of having a sister, but he doesn't mind. She can be a bit pushy when she wants to play, but Bonk definitely let's her know when he's had enough. They do play together occasionally, and it's cute when they do!

What type of dog is she?

She is a standard poodle. I always said I'd NEVER own a poodle, and here I am! Haha, but she's been great. We are keeping her in what's called a "puppy cut" so she will not have the fru-fru cut that is most often associated with poodles.

Since she's a service dog, can you take her anywhere or are there places she cannot go?

With a few exceptions, she is allowed to go anywhere I go. As a service dog, she is not considered a pet but a working animal. That means that according to ADA, she is considered medical equipment. Anywhere a wheelchair is allowed, she is allowed. Mostly. There are a few exceptions. She is allowed to go to the zoo with me, however, she can be kept out of certain exhibit areas if her presence would upset the zoo animals or put her in danger (i.e. petting zoo areas). When I go to the ER or am admitted to the hospital, she is allowed to be with me. However, if I need surgery or have to be in ICU, she is not allowed because those areas need to stay sterile. There are a few other minor exceptions, but those are the major ones. Other than that, she goes wherever I go!

She's so cute/pretty/well-behaved! Can I pet her?

Short answer: No. Read my previous post here for a more in depth explanation. The quick reason is that I need her focused on me and any distractions (petting, talking to, making kissy noises, etc.) pull her attention away from me and could make her miss an important alert. In general, if you see a service dog, please don't pet or distract them. Their owner needs their dog for a reason and needs its attention focused so the dog can do its job.

Slightly longer answer: We can find a time! I agree, she is super cute/well-behaved/etc. I know it can be hard to resist =) Please let us know if you want to meet her, and you are most welcome to come over and play with her and Bonk! Plus you'd get to hang out with me and Nick, too!

These are the most common questions I've been asked in the few weeks we've had her, so hopefully this answers them! If I've missed anything or you have a burning question that you're dying to ask, leave a comment, send me a message, text me, or ask next time you see me!


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Kylene. Wow--Leni is amazing! God is shining through your life with His joy and faith. He is amazing through you! I am so glad to see how He is providing for you. Thank you for the photos and the info. Praying for you. I send my love.

    1. Thank you! We are so humbled and thankful to know we have so many praying for us. Those prayers truly carry us through the tough times. And we are glad to have Leni, too. She definitely brings smiles on rough days =)