DogFest North Idaho 2018

Team Exeter

Welcome to our team page for DogFest

Life is more fun with friends… and dogs!

That’s why we’re putting together a team to participate in Canine Companions DogFest Walk ‘n Roll. Together we’ve set a fundraising goal to help fund the work of Canine Companions for Independence.

If you are up for the challenge, join our team. Or you can simply donate online. It all goes towards the goal of giving more people with disabilities the experience of love and independence that comes with a highly trained Canine Companions assistance dog, all FREE of charge.

Thanks for your support

Bob and Exeter’s story,

In October 2007, Bob McCuaig learned why he had been struggling with reasoning, concentration, fatigue and uncontrollable muscle movements. He was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a progressive disorder of the brain that inhibits patients physically, emotionally, and socially. Bob learned he could no longer drive, work or participate in the activities he grew up doing in Colorado and Idaho. He was relegated to the sidelines watching his three sons do the things he loved to share with them, like downhill skiing and watersports. When a neurologist mentioned to Bob’s wife, Nila that an assistance dog could help ease the physical and emotional pain of Bob’s illness, Nila knew an assistance dog would be a benefit for Bob and in 2010, Canine Companions for Independence made it possible for Bob to graduate with Skilled Companion Exeter, free of charge. “I felt that a Canine Companions assistance dog would be beneficial for Bob as his disease progressed,” says Nila. “Exeter picks up the many things that Bob drops, turns out the lights and gets Bob a Dr. Pepper from the fridge.” Having Exeter at Bob’s side has had an unexpected benefit for the whole family. “Huntington’s disease robs a person of their motor control and behavioral capabilities. Often, people would see Bob stumbling and assume he was intoxicated. They didn’t understand that he was only under the influence of Huntington’s.” After being matched with Exeter, that story has changed drastically. “People see Exeter in his vest and instantly understand that Bob has a disability. Now instead of confronting him, they offer their assistance.” Where many Canine Companions graduates love that an assistance dog makes their disability less visible, Bob’s disability often goes unseen or is misinterpreted. Having a Canine Companions assistance dog by his side brings awareness to Bob’s illness and opens conversation about more invisible disabilities and the life-changing help a highly skilled assistance dog can provide. Bob has integrated Exeter into his daily routine. While Huntington’s disease can cause a loss of interest in many activities, Exeter has captured Bob’s heart. The two spend hours snuggling while Bob holds Exeter’s paws. The physical and emotional benefits Exeter has provided Bob has even seemed to have slowed the progression of Huntington’s disease. “Knowing that Exeter will get the phone to Bob if he falls and let the public know that he has a disability has reduced stress. Stress hastens the progression of Bob’s illness,” states Nila. “Both the doctors and I can agree that Bob is doing as well as he is because of the presence of Exeter in his life.” Huntington’s Disease is like a storm that never ends, that affects all aspects of a person’s live and their family. Huntington’s Disease is a genetic Disease and every child born to an affected parent has a 50% chance of being born with the gene that causes the disease. Those who have not inherited the gene will not get the disease and they cannot pass it on to their children. Bob was adopted as a baby and the McCuaig’s had never heard of the disease or knew he was at risk until he was diagnosed.

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