Rizzo's Blog by Sharon Lawrence

Rizzo has been my true lifesaver since he's become my official and Registered Assistance Dog with RECOVERY.  Rizzo was accepted with the charity Dog A.I.D, but they couldn't find a trainer for him in the area so they wouldn't register him. After years of asking and constantly being told they had no one to help me train Rizzo, they told me about RECOVERY that helps train Assistance Dogs for mental health and I’ve never looked back.

I completed all the forms to register him, this included my vets, consultants, doctors and people who knew me; which was a heart lifting experience with all the nice things they all wrote about us. My vets really praised me and admired the commitment I have put into all my dogs welfare over many years. What my friends wrote also gave me a boost, it felt so good, I never realised that people thought this way.

I was accepted by RECOVERY but still had to convince the coordinators that Rizzo was trained to a very high standard and to please test him first and I didn't need a trainer.  Well, after quite some time Lizzie agreed and tested him, boy oh boy did he shine, he passed every step with a natural instinct.  Rizzo is an amazing dog; his connection with me is so strong, he’s very much attuned to me and knows instinctively when I'm not in a good place and will distract me until I feel better.

Rizzo is my life giver, having him as a Registered Assistance Dog has opened my world.  I hated going out. I found it, and still do find it, hard leaving him behind. So I don’t do that anymore because I can legally have him with me at all times. I need Rizzo with me in the car, he's so calming. If there’s a traffic jam I freak out. I can't stand them, it’s a horrible feeling of being trapped.  I have abandoned my car on the motorway and the police have needed to blue light down the hard shoulder to get me out of the situation.

That's how bad it is. 

I need Rizzo with me, I talk to him when we shop, he gets my mind off the people who are hustling and bustling around me. I can't stand all that, so I chat to him, “shall I get this, shall I get that”. I show him the products, silly really but to me its inclusion and making life bearable.  When he's with me I don't get so angry around people because I know it will upset him and I can't do that to him. With him by me I’m able to think about my actions and try harder to integrate.