Sydnee Geril knows life wouldn’t be the same without her service dog Tulsa. After all, the pup has brightened her days since the moment they met!
The 25-year-old from Ocala, Florida, has a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. She also has a fear of needles, which means she often faints during her chemotherapy treatments. Luckily, she has Tulsa to keep her smiling.
Sydnee received her cancer diagnosis in October 2017. She underwent nine months of treatment before going into remission.
While staying in the hospital, she found comfort and joy in visits from therapy dogs, which inspired her to adopt and train one of her own. She’ll never forget how happy she was the day Tulsa came into her life!
Life threw Sydnee another curveball when her cancer returned eight months later. That’s when she decided to train Tulsa as a service dog, which is a more complex process.
While the 2-year-old pup is still learning how to do her job, she’s already been a huge help! Tulsa can detect when Sydnee is about to faint and alerts her by placing a paw on her leg. As a result, Sydnee has 10 to 30 minutes to react.
“It’s huge; it’s given me my freedom back greatly,” Sydnee told Today. “I can go out by myself now.”
Unfortunately, when the novel coronavirus pandemic began, Sydnee had to stop bringing Tulsa with her to appointments at the Moffitt Cancer Center. With her compromised immune system, she couldn’t risk interacting with COVID-19 through the dog’s fur.
As the months passed, Tulsa’s absence affected Sydnee’s mental and physical health. She began using a wheelchair for fear of passing out and longed for her loyal companion.
Everything turned around when she discovered an incredible product called the Shed Defender in May! The onesie for dogs covers their fur and helps control shedding. While it wasn’t created to protect against COVID-19, it was a perfect solution!
Now, Sydnee has her best friend at her side wherever she needs her! Tulsa doesn’t mind her new uniform or booties, and all Sydnee has to do is wash the suit and wipe off Tulsa’s face after every visit (as opposed to cleaning her entire body).
“I’m so happy to have her back,” Sydnee said. “I honestly did not realize how big of an impact she had until I didn’t have her.”
We’re so glad these two can be together again! Chemotherapy is tough, and Sydnee deserves all the support she can get. As for Tulsa, we’re sure she’s thrilled to be helping her mom.
Share this story to show appreciation for service animals everywhere. They make such a difference for their humans!
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