Thanks to KFYR-TV for this story.
Living with MS…Dog In Hand
A Drake woman is tackling Multiple Sclerosis, or M-S, with a furry friend. Sandy Sherlock is a music teacher at the Towner school, and she`s using a service dog named Eddie to help her balance while walking. She says she`s utilizing her gift of public speaking to raise awareness about M-S, how service dogs are a viable option, and as a way to raise funds to support Eddie and fight M-S.
M-S struck Sandy Sherlock in the early nineties, but only recently has she made use of Eddie. He didn`t come cheap though…his price tag is at $15,000…that would be enough to buy a new car. She started to have more debilitating symptoms of M-S in 2001. But this is a woman that is taking the negative and making it into many positives. Her love of music and her background in woodwind instruments are significantly affected by the condition.
Sherlock says “Now, I have a really hard time even holding a flute and you know and it`s not that I don`t have the strength to do it, it`s that my muscles forget what they`re doing, and my hands will just collapse down. I can`t feel the rings on a clarinet to play a clarinet anymore.”
That hasn`t stopped her from branching out and trying new things. She says she now plays baritone and the trumpet pretty well. Sherlock says she`s happy to talk to anyone about the condition because it raises awareness. When she got Eddie last July, she had a short training period with him, and then took him to Bottineau for his first day of school…with anxious kids.
She says “Bless the elementary teachers hearts. I mean they grilled their kids, don`t touch the dog, don`t say the dog`s name, don`t have eye contact with the dog. If the dog approaches you, put your hands up, because he`s not supposed to have any contact with you. I mean they just did such a great job.”
Going to the mall is no easy task for Sherlock and her husband…they have to block out an extra hour for people that approach her and Eddie. She says she welcomes it, so long as people approach her and don`t invite Eddie over.
She says “If you put your hand down like this, this is an invitation for the dog to come and visit with you. And as well trained as Eddie is, he`s still a dog and he`s curious and he`s interested. And if I`m walking past somebody at the mall, and they put their hand down like that, and he goes toward them, guess what, I`m going to go there too.”
However, there is a way to interact with Eddie if your name isn`t Sandy Sherlock.
Sherlock: “I say Eddie would you like to visit? You can visit and he goes to visit. And then it`s ok to pet him…because he knows it`s ok.”