Link February 2018 Link February 2018 - Page 6

link loves Nicola Ettridge and her dog Lenny. “For example, Lenny will let me know where my partner is, or if someone is at the door.” Nicola got Lenny as an eight-week old puppy nearly one year ago – and they’ve quickly become best friends. “I’ve always loved Dachshunds because they are big dogs trapped in little dog bodies. Lenny has a big scary bark until you open the door and then there is a fat little sausage looking up at you, not so scary after all!” she said. loves Happiness is dog shaped D ogs play a special role in many people’s lives, and for Nicola Ettridge her dog Lenny’s role is vital. Lenny is a clever miniature “Dachshunds are a very stubborn but very smart breed, so for Lenny learning Auslan, consistency is the key, teamed with the right reward. “Lenny knows a range of commands from the normal stuff like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ to our favourite one which is ‘bark on command’ and then “I now have a cochlear implant (CI). Its main job is to focus on and process stop when I sign ‘be quiet’.” Nicola, who works in disability speech so I can understand it, both employment services at Adelaide’s others and my own. Wise Employment, said Lenny has “My CI has been really successful some great best friend qualities. Dachshund who has even learned sign and I am able to communicate orally “Lenny loves spending time with language for his owner, who is hard really well. But I do miss out on a lot me, he has no sense of personal space, of hearing. of environmental noises, so I rely on he steals my clothes, and most of all he others’ reactions to gauge what’s doesn’t know he is a dog, so he prefers collection of dog stories featured in a happening around me. And at home, I the term best friend,” she said. new book ‘Happiness Is Dog Shaped’. rely on Lenny’s reactions instead. Their special bond is among a Editor of ‘Happiness Is Dog Nicola, 30, lost her ability to hear at Shaped’, Karan White, said the book is the age of 22 after she contracted Ross all about the underlying desire of dogs River Virus. to make their humans happy. “I was sick for roughly a year, “The book features dogs with with the first six months being most disability, including a tiny Chihuahua intense,” she said. with two legs, little Lilo in a wheelchair “After recovering from the illness I … so many inspiring stories about noticed I could still hear people talking dogs who once they found the right but I could no longer understand what people for them, really came alive.” they were saying. www.happinessisdogshaped.com Share your views and read about all things disability-related at facebook.com/linkdisabilitymagazine 6 link loves linkonline.com.au