This month’s Featured Friend story comes in two parts. We’re introduced to Ray by his mother Marcy as well as his new furbaby-to-be Bacchus. The decision to welcome this new doggo into their home, however, comes at the remembrance of Simba.
Simba the Shih Tzu was well loved by Ray and his family, but sadly passed away in November 2018 to enter the golden gates. All dogs go to heaven, of course and Simba did his job being a companion to Ray so well.
Marcy was so gracious to share her story with us about Ray and the dogs in their lives. This isn’t something you can copy edit or properly convey, but we’ll do our best to do their story justice.
Marcy is a mother of two boys -- Ethan and Ray -- and when she gave birth to Ray in October 2008, they made some observations that were confirmed as concerning by their pediatrician at a wellness checkup. Ray had low muscle tone and it was recommended that the family take him to see a neurologist.
They learned Ray had SMA Type 1. SMA stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy which affects the nervous system and hinders the ability to do actions such as walk, drink, and eat. Simba the Shih Tzu was already a part of Ray’s family and soon would become a great companion to Ray despite not being trained as a service animal. The loveable pup would keep him company for many years until passing in November 2018.
The loss of Simba was devastating. On November 8th, just a few weeks before Ray would have surgery, the family posted, “Today is a sad day for Ray and all of us. It was the last time Ray and Simba snuggled as Ray said goodbye to Simba. He was a great member of our family for 14 years and we will miss him terribly.”
Through what seemed like fate, Marcy connected with another mother (Alicia) whose daughter had a service dog. There, the conversation reached new heights and Marcy’s new friend proposed that Ray should have a Bernedoodle as a service dog.
“When Alicia and Lexie [Alicia’s daughter] read my email about Ray, they knew they could change his life by providing a bernedoodle puppy. On the Highfalutin Furry Babies website, it states Alicia and Lexie have the right to choose first for a donation puppy. To be honest, it was a little scary...how could someone else know what Ray would need in a service dog? How can they know enough about a puppy's intelligence and temperament when they are so young? Would this all work out?”
On January 17th, Ray received news from his mother - via Alicia - that Bacchus the Bernedoodle would be his new fur baby. Alicia and Lexie did temperament and intelligence testing and discovered Bacchus as a great fit!
Time passed. Bacchus went through a month of initial training in Florida as Ray anxiously awaited for updates on when his new fur baby would come home. Ray asked Marcy tons of questions in preparation for Bacchus’ arrival. March 15th was the homecoming date!
“As soon as we put Bacchus on the couch with Ray, they just connected,” Marcy recounted. “He very calmly laid on Ray and they looked at each other. It was as though Bacchus knew what he was meant to do. At that moment we knew Alicia selected the right puppy for Ray.”
Since Bacchus’ arrival, Marcy observed a change in Ray.
“Ray seems more confident and happier. He says his life is perfect now that he has Bacchus. For someone with as many physical limitations as Ray has, to say that his life is perfect, really puts things in perspective.”
Bacchus has so much ahead of him now that he has Ray as his human! In between training classes and private lessons at home, Ray plans on bringing Bacchus along for the fun recreational adventures. After training is completed, Ray wants to bring Bacchus to school and even to Miracle League Baseball games this summer!
We thank Marcy and Ray for sharing their story with Pug Life Harness and wish the best for them and Bacchus while they embark on this new journey together!
Edit 7/28/2019: Marcy shared more photos of Bacchus in his Pug Life Harness! Thank you for sharing with us, Marcy.