update: my company wants to sponsor me for a service dog, but I’m not sure I should accept

Remember the letter-writer whose company wanted to sponsor her for a service dog but she wasn’t sure if it was okay to accept? I told her to go get her dog, and her first update was here. Here’s the latest one.

My life has been kind of a whirlwind for the last… wow, has it really been that long? My life has changed tremendously, mostly for the better, but sadly it is still lacking an awesome pupper partner.

A year was basically sucked away dealing with some really awful addiction problems in the family (I now understand how it tears families apart, and each person up, whoa) and moving into hospice care as it got too hard living alone, but since then my doctor has been using me as a guinea pig for a new pain protocol. I really wish I had good info to give you on it, but the short of it is: empirically, I feel NO PAIN when these discs are applied. They are really expensive and too new to be covered by any insurance, so both my doc and work have been subsidizing me, so I can afford as many as needed each week. It’s not just a maintenance thing either, it has been allowing things to heal that have been messed up for quite a while now) so overall I have been… well, able to walk and work and live without assistance.To the point of where I am actually moving out of hospice care to my own apartment in the new year! It’s two blocks from work and is beside the big park.

Dogs are allowed in the apartment. So I have some big, awesome decisions to make that I didn’t dream possible when I first wrote you!

In the meantime, as my energy and ability levels have rocketed up, I have been volunteering both with a therapy dog company (service dogs are absolutely not allowed to be therapy dogs, but I am learning so much and am just in awe of the difference therapy dogs bring wherever they go) as well as our national service dog program with everything from fundraising and such that I can do from bed, to helping train two year olds with crowd socialization in busy train stations and such. In another year they will meet their new matches! And we get a new batch for training. It has been an amazing experience working with this organization and has also built a relationship between my workplace and them! We get puppy pictures at the end of each monthly meeting and tend to get visitors to our free programming classes for kids – of the four-legged variety. Since we target underprivileged kids for the prime time slots and days, it’s a wombo combo of awesome.

Life is wild. I no longer qualify for a service dog! But I can train my own therapy dog with an emphasis on my needs and hopefully help people with my brand of problems. I love working with both organizations and am happy to fill my old softball and hockey slots with volunteering there.

I’m never going to be back to where I was before this, but I am very happy with where I am and where things are going. It has really changed office culture regarding disabilities and how we have very few people with visible ones but plenty of people with invisible ones, and our EAP has become way more comprehensive, as has normalizing asking for help and talking about them without stigmas. Heck, every single person at the office has a bad case of impostor syndrome, but this lets us tackle it together instead of fretting alone.

A super long response! I wish it was pat with dog pictures, but if anything it has shown me how to pull through and explore other abilities I have… and now am capable of sitting at a desk the full 10+ hours of OT (although I get shooed home still). I’ve been able to contribute to major projects, I spent a year babysitting toddlers while my family imploded and am now so close to them I can’t imagine life without them. They bring do much joy to the hospice, too, so we’ll keep visiting.

‘Go get your dog’ has also become a motto for my life – maybe not in the way originally planned, but it is still excellent advice. Take compliments graciously. Allow others to recognize you and recognize yourself for the stuff you are awesome at. Everyone deserves their dog.

{ 127 comments… read them below }

  1. Krissy*

    Yay! I remember this letter and am really happy to hear your update – thanks for sharing. I am also going to adopt that motto ;)

        1. Love is a labrador retriever*

          Yes, this is quite possibly the best update I’ve ever seen here! Not just because of the happy ending, but because of DOGS!!!

    1. Hills to Die on*

      They sure are. As I sit here listening to my husband explain to the judge presiding over his disability hearing, I have tears streaming down my face. I hope someday for a miracle like this for him.

      The next best thing is seeing those miracles in other peoples’s lives. I’m so happy for you and I wish all the dogs life has to offer. Thank you so much for the update.

    2. Jen S. 2.0*


      No dog (yet), but still plenty of wins. Super happy that you are feeling better, OP!

  2. KimberlyR*

    Oh I love this! So much I love this! I am sorry for OP and the addiction problem(s) within her family but the rest of this update is amazing.

  3. babblemouth*

    This makes me SO happy to read – the way you managed to turn around so much bad stuff and found the good in the middle. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Lumen*

    OP this is wonderful news.

    I like that you’re taking ‘go get your dog’ as your motto. It reminds me of the ‘eat the donuts’ lesson to be taken from the fact that Thoreau lived all alone independently… except for things like the basket of pastries and donuts his family brought him every week. Does that make him a hypocrite? No. It is possible to live an independent and meaningful life while still accepting gracious help and gifts when offered.

    Go get your dog. Eat the donuts.

    And I am so happy to hear that you’re on a treatment program that is helping you. That’s incredible.

    1. Ktelzbeth*

      But do not accidentally combine the two mottos like I just did because my eyes were blurry from the onion ninjas.

    1. Hurricane Wakeen*

      Exactly what I was going to say! Maybe there should be an annual vote on best update as well =)

    1. MechanicalPencil*

      I really don’t need to be told to go get a dog because I really don’t need to get another dog. BUT I LOVE THIS UPDATE.

  5. New Window*

    OP, I’m so sorry to hear that your family has had to deal with addiction problems, and I hope things get better and/or stay better. But I’m so happy to hear that the pain treatment you’ve been working on with your doctor has done so much, and that in the middle of the turmoil from the past year you’ve been able to find joy and been able to “get your dog,” even if it didn’t take the shape you’d originally expected.

  6. Blue Anne*

    This is so heartwarming and wonderful! I’m so glad things are improving so drastically for you, OP! Awwww. :D

    “Go get your dog” is an amazing phrase.

  7. Too Witches*

    I actually teared up. OP, you are a delight, and I hope you get ALL THE DOGS, in whatever form they may come!

  8. Matilda Jefferies*

    Oh, OP – thank you so much for continuing to write in and keep us updated. You have such a great story, and a whole crew of internet strangers cheering you on!

  9. Anna*


    Congratulations on feeling better, on the support you’re getting from work and your doctor AND for the volunteer work!

      1. Blue*

        I don’t remember crying over any other OP, but this one gets me every time she writes in. So many happy tears.

  10. Casca*

    That treatment sounds amazing and I’m so glad you have access to it! I hope it’s mainstreamed in the near future

    Awesome update! Wishing you all the best and continued joy

  11. Renee*

    Glad to see I’m not the only one that got teary!

    Great update, LW. Go get your dog, indeed. Best wishes to you.

  12. Justme*

    Hi OP,

    I’m really sorry to hear about the addiction issues in your family. I know from experience how they can rip families apart. It’s not something I would wish on anyone to deal with.

    It sounds like you’re doing really well. Your workplace seems like such a great and supportive place to work.

  13. Spooky*

    Oh my god, update of the year. I’m so happy I could cry. Good for you, OP! What a wonderful update–thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Kyrielle*

    If someone had told me that the “Go Get Your Dog” OP would write in, not have gotten that dog, and not be going to get their dog, and I’d be happy about it, I’d have stared at them like they had four heads.

    But you did and I am. I’m sorry you went through such hard things on the way to where you are now, but I am SO glad that your health is so vastly improved, and thrilled to hear about such a great company culture.

  15. jennie*

    What a beautiful update. And what an amazing positive attitude you have. Your company seems amazing and I’m sure you’ll make a huge difference in the lives of those you interact with at work and volunteering (and those kids!).

  16. Damien Smethurst*

    I never saw the original letter until just now, and have read through that, the original update, and this update, and can hereby state that the Onion Fairy has visited me at work. Fantastic to hear such positive news, and to know that while I might work for a company that doesn’t value its employees, there are companies out there that do the right thing and treat the people who work for them as actual people

  17. NotThatGardner*

    got real cold and windy in here all of a sudden… all teary eyed & chills but thats totally just the environment in the office from out of nowhere, i swears it…

  18. Shark Lady*

    I am SO SO happy that you’re doing better and that you and your doctor have found a pain protocol that works! I have more experience than I ever wanted with familial addiction problems, and I’m so sorry that you have had to deal with that. It’s not something that I wish on anybody. But “go get your dog” is a fantastic motto, and one that I may adopt for my own life.
    And man, those Onion Ninjas are super sneaky!

  19. Interviewer*

    A whirlwind of dust bunnies just rode through my office, ran circles around my desk, then raced out the door, yippie-kay-yaying the whole way down the hall, leaving behind one sniffling and very teary-eyed Interviewer.

    Go get your dog, indeed.

  20. LAI*

    OP, I have been a regular reader of this blog for years now and I love your story the most. So much of what we read on here is about dysfunctional workplaces and terrible bosses. It’s just amazing to remember that there are really good companies out there that take care of their people, and to see what kind of awesome employees they get in return. I am so happy for you and I very sincerely hope that we get another update with pictures of your therapy pup soon!

  21. Rahera*

    This is brilliant news, OP. I’m sorry about the expense of the protocol, but so glad you are able to get the treatment and that it is helping you so much. Congratulations on your improving health, your determination, your new apartment not far off, and all the exciting things ahead, including a pup of one’s own before long, I hope. Happy new year, and thanks so much for the update :).

  22. Wicked Odd*

    Oh my goodness! OP, I am so happy for you that the new pain protocol has worked so well, and that your new “Go get your dog” outlook is enhancing your life. My kittens and I wish you all the best in the world.

  23. Flower*

    Bookmarking this for days when I need to be reminded to “get my dog” – especially as someone who both has and researches chronic pain.

  24. Thursday Next*

    LW, I’ve never been so happy for someone I don’t even know. What an update! Wishing you the best.

  25. Mananana*

    Oh, this is a terrific update. I wish you nothing but the best in the coming years, and Go Get Your Dog!

  26. Sweary McSwearerson*

    OP, yours is quite possibly my favorite letter that I’ve read on AAM. I’m so thrilled to hear all of the good in your update!

  27. Ella*

    OP, thank you so much for sending in these updates. They make my day brighter every time.

    Can anyone recommend reputable US-based service dog non-profits? I want to help someone get their dog.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      It’s hyper-local, but my parents fostered a service dog hopeful (who has now completed training and been matched with his person) through Monkey Tail Ranch in California. They’re a 501(c)3 and they work with dogs (specializing in autism service dogs) and horses. Linked in my commenter name.

    2. Rafflesia Reaper*

      A friend of mine’s daughter got her dog from 4 Paws for Ability – click my username for their site. It’s been beautiful to watch how this beautiful, giant fluffball provides so much comfort and safety to her little girl, and so much piece of mind to the whole family.

  28. Annie Mouse*

    I’ve had a rough couple of days with work and rereading your letters and then this update have completely cheered me up OP. Sorry things haven’t gone smoothly but the amount of positivity from you is fantastic. Good luck.
    And ‘go get your dog’ has to be my favourite AAM phrase.

  29. lurker bee*

    Good things come to good people.

    Thank you for a wonderful update. May your energy, cheer and optimism continue to touch the lives of those around you as beautifully as they have this year.

  30. Mimmy*

    What a wonderful update to end the day on! Love the “go get your dog” motto! OP, I am so glad your treatments are helping. Love your outlook on life! Best wishes to you and your family for good health and happiness!

  31. Nursey Nurse*

    ❤️. Just… ❤️, OP. When Gahndi said we need to be the change we want to see in the world, I think he was talking about you. Keep on bringing the awesome to everything you do, okay?

  32. anon24*

    I don’t know you OP, but I like you. A lot. I went back and reread your other letters and even with life throwing you curveballs all this optimism and joy and enthusiasm just shines right through in your writing. I think you are a wonderful person and I hope that you have a happy wonderful life from now on because it sounds like you deserve it.

  33. Elizabeth West*

    I did a rather porg-ish arm flap/scream when I saw the header, and another at the end. YAAAAAAYY!!
    I’m sorry about your family problems, OP. That’s rough. But I’m so glad things have worked out for your.

    Phrases from this post/comments for the AAM lexicon:

    –wombo combo of awesome
    –Onion Fairy
    –Go get your dog


  34. Not So NewReader*

    Rock on, OP.
    You are going to teach us all something here.
    I wish you the best in everything.
    And WHEN you get that dog, please send Alison a link to a picture so we can all see the luckiest dog on earth.

  35. MsMaryMary*

    Oh man. I was already kinda emotional today, and we’re approaching the one year anniverary of my furry little buddy coming to live with me (the first dog that’s *mine*) and, well, I got more than a little teary.

    OP, it sounds like you’ve had a rough couple of years. Your positive attitude and positive actions are amazing. Thank you for sharing another update. I wouldn’t mind an annual update on your job and your therapy dog training and your toddlers.

  36. DM*

    GREAT update. I’d just like to add: even if the organization has restrictions and you don’t qualify under that organization for a service dog, if you are disabled (even considering mitigating measures like medication), you may still benefit for a service dog. Decades ago, I trained my own dog through a program, and it helped me immensely. It’s something to consider if you think you’d really benefit!

  37. MissDissplaced*

    What a nice update. Happy to hear that you’re feeling better nowadays, and yes I think “Go get your dog!” Can be a truism in many of our lives. :-)

  38. This Daydreamer*

    Do we need a contest for best update of the year? Starting next year, of course, because there isn’t really a contest this year. *wipes away tears*

    Go get your dog, OP! Go get all the dogs in the world!

  39. Megan*

    Oh my, this room is awfully dusty . . .
    Alison, would it be appropriate or feasible to start a GoFundMe for the OP to help with the costs of medication?

  40. Kathlynn*

    Awesome update! Just, one thing, therapy dogs aren’t always treated the same legally as service dogs. Like in my province, only *dogs* that have completed a certain program are legally recognized as service animals, and that program is mostly for mobility issues iirc. Animals for emotional issues aren’t granted the same rights. (this law used to be more flexible, but was tightened at some point. On one hand I understand requiring certified training. On the other hand, having the rules restricted so much isn’t fair to people.)

    1. Candi*

      It seems to be a backlash effect. Too many thoughtless dunderheads break or warp the rules, so the rules get tightened up far beyond what is sensible.

      My irritation is generally aimed at the dolts who have so little consideration or long term thinking, and wind up harming countless others with their shenanigans. All because they can’t mind their manners and be good neighbors. (Considerate but with firm boundaries.)

    2. AMPG*

      Therapy dogs are different from emotional support dogs. Therapy dogs go through specialized training and enjoy certain legal protections, but do incident-specific work, rather than being assigned to a specific person.

  41. mimsie*

    Excellent update! I absolutely love that you’ve taken up Go Get Your Dog as a personal motto.
    Someone pass the tissue box already.

  42. DaphneD*

    Because it’s my last day at work before the holidays I indulged myself by going back and re-reading the original letter as well as the first update, and now I’ve got a serious case of the warm fuzzies and a certain dampness around the eyes! OP – you’re amazing! I hope your move in the New Year goes well and that you are joined by a four-legged companion soon.

  43. Hlyssande*

    I’m not ashamed to say that this made me cry this morning. I really needed a Happy Thing, and this was it.

    I am so happy for you, LW.

  44. Monica*

    This wonderful update made me tear up with happiness! I love “Go Get Your Dog” as your motto. Love, love, love. :)

  45. ItsOnlyme*

    OP you just made my day, thank you for sharing your story and for the updates. I am wishing you good health and good fortune and blessings for the New Year. I may just need to design a poster for my cube with this as my 2018 Motto.

    Everyone deserves their dog –
    Go get Your Dog

  46. Fish girl*

    If it’s not too much to ask, I’d love to hear more specifics about these pain-relieving discs from the LW. My husband suffers from debilitating chronic pain and I’m always on the hunt for new research that could help him out.

    1. inkgrrl*

      YAY DOGGIES!! Also, holy cats how totally awesome! Also also, I too would love to hear about the pain-relieving discs, as I’m the one who can no longer work & would love to be able to get back some of my old life.

  47. The Strand*

    I am so happy for you and all the people you, your company, and your volunteer colleagues are all helping. Thank you.

  48. Aitch Arr*

    What a fantastic update!

    It sounds like you have found a calling of sorts.

    Best wishes to you for 2018!

  49. A Question*

    If the OP or Allison happens to read this comment…

    Would OP be willing to share a little more information about the treatment in question? I have been dealing with injuries and pain with varying degrees of success for several years now, and I can definitely empathize with OP’s struggles in regaining his/her life and ability to work. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to look into this further, because at the moment I’m at a bit of a dead-end progress-wise. I’m really happy for you, OP, and wish you all the best moving forward <3

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