|Reba in the holiday spirit as Santa's reindeer|
Reba, the wheelchair bound boxer, appears in the calendar with others to show the roles dogs play as companions, mood elevators, physical therapy aids, memory triggers, and friends for millions of Americans residing in long term care facilities nationwide. Reba has visited at Golden LivingCenter William Penn located in Lewiston, PA since she was a puppy. In July 2011, Reba was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. DM is a condition that is similar to MS that initially affects the back legs and causes muscle weakness and loss of coordination. By October, she completely lost the use of her back legs, but she still has great spirit. Reba's family purchased her a Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair from Handicappedpets.com in hopes of giving her some independence and mobility back.
Reba was having trouble adjusting to her cart until she came to Golden LivingCenter William Penn for "rehab." After being strapped in, she immediately trotted through the Foyer looking for her friends. She stopped in the offices to check on the staff, and then she was off to the Rehab Department. Whether it was the inspiration of the residents working so hard at their own rehab, or just the pure joy of seeing so many new people, Reba did not even seem to notice that she was in her dog wheelchair. She made her usual rounds through the facility visiting with her regulars and meeting and greeting many new residents. She loves roaming the wide open spaces and visiting with friends. Reba, the residents and staff all benefit from the interaction.
According to her owner Missy Kinzer, Reba is an inspiration to the new residents often just learning to adapt to wheel chairs themselves. It is so much fun to watch the residents light up when she trots down the hall in her Walkin' Wheels.
The 2013 Caring Canine Calendar will be available for purchase online at the AMDA Foundation website and at the Golden LivingCenter William Penn beginning in mid-October.