LanDan Olivia was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome when she was just seven years old. Due to these conditions, she is unable to stand on her own, and often uses a wheelchair.
Now at eleven years old, LanDan has a best friend who helps her through each day – a service dog named Perkins.
After she was diagnosed, she and her mom contacted Canine Companions for Independence inquiring about an assistance dog who could help LanDan with everyday tasks that would usually be simple for anyone else but proved to be difficult for LanDan.
“I was in my wheelchair, and it was really hard to get around, and open doors and drawers, and close them, and I would drop things and couldn’t pick them up. Sometimes even emotionally, I also felt like I needed help with things that a person could not understand,” she told PEOPLE. “Perkins just feels me. I needed someone like Perkins in my life.”
Two years later, LanDan was invited to Team Training, where she met Perkins. At that point, Perkins had already had a year and a half of basic training. The two of them bonded instantly, and that bond only grew stronger as time went on. Today, they are the best of friends.
Perkins helps LanDan do anything from brushing her hair and picking up objects to opening cupboards and turning the pages of her books.
Perkins has been a huge help to LanDan and has drastically improved her quality of life. Not only does he help her with her disabilities, but he is also there for her as a best friend. He makes her feel so happy and helps her emotionally. He is always by her side no matter what.
LanDan shares her experience with us and would like people to know that they can’t just go online and buy a vest for the dog and call him or her an assistance dog. “It’s confusing to the public, and it hurts those people who have a real working assistance dog,” she told PEOPLE.
Hear more about her story and her relationship with Perkins in the video below: