Carol Willoughby became an advocate for people with disabilities in the early 1970’s after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 22. Her first service dog, a privately trained golden retriever named Booker, restored her dwindling self confidence and inspired Carol to establish the non-profit—Saint Francis Service Dogs at her kitchen table in 1996.
Now her service dog Midas is by Carol’s side at all times, watching, listening and waiting for her to give him a command. He tries to anticipate what she needs. Midas keeps Carol company and makes her laugh every day, which in turn affects her overall health and well-being in many positive ways. With Midas in her life, she is generally happier, which affects everything she does and everyone around her.
Carol needs a very quiet, laid-back companion that will not tax her low reserves of energy. Midas has just the right pace — he is calm when he needs to be, but he has enough energy to do the work required to assist Carol.
Midas helps Carol with daily tasks such as opening and closing doors, picking up anything she drops and carrying items. The phone is never beyond reach with Midas beside her. When they go to the mall, Midas bumps the automated door button, waits for Carol’s command for him to position himself on her left or her right side and then they shop together.
Carol had hoped for a service dog that could make her laugh and keeps a smile on her face, no matter how she is feeling each day. Midas proved to be the perfect match for her. Carol’s family enjoys the peace of mind that comes from knowing that she is never alone. He also adds his love and funny personality to the happiness felt in their home.
Carol says, “His very essence in my life boosts my spirit every moment of each day. With Midas beside me in the community, everyone I see takes a moment to smile and say hello. At home, I feel much more secure knowing Midas is there in an emergency or to help with anything I need. Midas makes life fun and interesting! The best part of having a service dog is the 24/7 companionship. Midas can be with me anywhere I am, in the home or in the community. Since I am never without a service dog, I’m also never without a smile!”