Clare Syversten is not your ordinary 26 year old woman and her beautiful Golden Retriever, Griffin is not your ordinary dog. At 13 years old, Clare was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a degenerative tissue condition. That same year, Clare was forced to begin her life in a wheelchair. Her illness leaves her with very loose joints, which can cause them to dislocate with the slightest movement. Clare knew she would need help, but she was unwilling to give up her independence. She strived for a way to make her life wonderful and felt blessed to have it. However, she learned that life in a wheelchair could be a very lonely life indeed. Little did she know, a hero was soon coming into her life.
In 2013, Clare met Griffin. From the moment he ran into the room, she knew they were meant to get through this life together. It was love at first sight and Griffin seemed to agree! Clare and Griffin have a bond that goes beyond master and dog. They are soul mates. Griffin is always there, ready willing and able to assist Clare with her day-to-day tasks. From answering the telephone, to helping her load and unload the washing machine, Griffin never misses a beat. He opens and closes doors, brings Clare her chair, turns on and off switches and then some. He can help Clare unzip her jacket and even remove her shoes. Griffin goes with Clare to the supermarket where he reaches things for her from the shelves. Then he assists her is paying the cashier! There is little Griffin cannot do and nothing he is unwilling to do for his human!
Because of the well trained Golden Retriever provided to Clare from the charitable organization; Canine Partners; her life in Northold, England is much easier. Clare’s freedom and independence is very valuable to her. Because of Griffin, she feels safe to leave her home and to live her life.
Before Griffin entered her world, Clare often felt invisible in the world. People seemed to be put off by the wheelchair and would often brush by her without so much as looking at her. Now they are amazed with her service animal, and often stop to comment. Griffin may attract them, but it is Clare’s magnetic personality and easy charm that holds them to her. In every way possible, Griffin has opened her world and enhanced her life.
It has been two years since Griffin came into Clare’s life. They have been inseparable during those two years. It has been amazing to watch these two learn to take care of each other. Let us hope they have many more productive and happy years together. Who knows what the future will hold for this pair? We do know whatever waits, they will face it together, and be just fine.