Xena! Warrior puppy… savior of young lady living with Cystic Fibrosis.
Her flopsy-mopsy ears, charcoal nose, and sparkling midnight eyes are no diguise for the mischevious, playful soul that resides within her gentle heart. The strands of hair that blossom from the bridge of her muzzle tease on-lookers, who can’t help but smile. Xena romps and bounces, often tripping over her own limbs. Her high-spirited nature begs for attention, and her sense of humor is shown by her frolics, often focused on her furr-buddies… who seem to be less than amused. It’s easy to be consumed by her velvety hair, and wandering strands that welcome the human touch.
My daughter has cystic fibrosis, and Xena is her 9-month old service dog, in training. Morgan’s life began with a life-flight to Primary Children’s Hospital, and a major surgery at 24 hours old. Our life as a family was turned to focus on her survival.
From the ages 1-5, Morgan experienced hand-administered chest physiotherapy and nebulized albuterol and pulmozyme, every morning and night, enzymes to digest her food, countless vitamins, and quarterly visits to CF clinics and doctors. At the age of 5, she was able to start using a “vest” for her daily therapy to help loosen the mucus in her lungs.
From the ages 6-11, Morgan had over 10 sinus surgeries for chronic sinusitus, and still continued to do her daily therapy routines. When Morgan was 12, she started to realize she was “different” than other kids. Unfortunately, this reality was made obvious by cruel teenagers and inadequate school personnel. Morgan bravely tried out for cheer-leading, only to be ridiculed by bratty school girls. She participated with the cross-country team, until her couch announced to everyone that Morgan had special needs, a highly illegal pronouncement. She was teased when she had to administer drugs through a PICC line, it’s not easy to hide.
As Morgan raged into her teen-age years, the school situation did not improve. She became rebellious, and in her desire to be in control of something… anything… she stopped doing her scheduled therapy. Her faith in humanity declined, and anger superceded her logic. It crushed me to feel like a helpless by-stander, a CF Mom.
The years that brought her into her 20’s were like tidal waves, overwhelming and all-consuming. Social media provided a pathway to relate to other people with cystic fibroris, but sadly, some of her closest friends lost their battle with CF. She was morphing into a young lady, carrying a broken heart and weakened body.
Last August, Morgan told me it was short notice, but she was getting a dog, a service dog.
(Xena and me)
Xena is relishing her puppy world as Morgan introduces her to the routine of a service dog. Xena’s focus can be on a multitude of objects and sounds, as she seeks out her next unwilling playmate, but when Morgan says her name, the love and affection eminating from Xena to her human is genuine, and heartfelt.
It brings tears to my eyes when I watch Morgan and Xena, both are truly a blessing. Morgan’s boyfriend has also been a steady rock for her over the past year, he has been graced with understanding.
HOPE is powerful. HOPE is the most common word used in non-profit organizations.
HOPE… is a black and white furball… a soul created to nuture her hero; the brave young lady I am proud to have as my daughter.
Morgan sent me this picture… “Groomed and Thrilled”. Xena was not exactly thrilled about her grooming day. Gotta love it!
Thank you for reading my post. Enjoy your day.