Carlee is 15 yrs old. She has Autism and Developmental disabilities and a rare type of epilepsy that is triggered by light. She moved to Forks with her family after her dad retired from the USAF. The cloud cover most of the year helps her enjoy time outside the light-controlled environment of her home.
She can go outside here to enjoy the beach and forests.
As a little girl, she would wait until the sun went down to play outside as other children did during the daytime. Carlee has had a service dog since she was three years old. Her first service, Sunshine, a yellow lab detected Carlee’s first seizure.
After 12 years of service, Carlee has had to retire Sunshine. Her new dog Luna was donated to Carlee to train as a service dog.
Carrieanna is Carlee’s mom and a dog trainer. Carrieanna has trained service dogs before and worked with retraining retired military working dogs to civilian life for 15 years. Thanks to businesses like True Value that allow leashed animals to enter the building there offers one place in the city of Forks where Luna can be trained to do her job.
Carrieanna recalls how difficult it was to have young children with disabilities. She had twins with disabilities. “My husband was in the military which meant he was gone most of the time. I would need groceries or have to take the kids to the doctor. It was difficult because of the nature of Carlee’s disabilities she was a bolter. She wouldn’t just wander off she would take off. Sunshine made it possible for us to go out into the community because I trained her and Carlee to be a tethered team. I taught Sunshine to anchor Carlee and pull her back to me or give a little woof to alert me something was going on. Even better, I trained Sunshine to search for Carlee. Sunshine could find Carlee in a big loud crowd with her ears and nose,” Carrieanna shared.
“This will probably be Sunshine’s last Christmas with us. She isn’t doing well. But we are grateful that she has had some time to bond with Luna. They are good friends and it is obvious that Sunshine feels good about passing the torch,” Carrieanna said.
Carlee’s needs are changing and so the training is specific to her needs. If there are other businesses that would like to sponsor Carlee and Luna’s training please let them know. The more exposure to different scenarios the better trained she will become.