Girl’s Best Friend: Champlin Park Grad seeks help for Service Dog
21-year-old Erin Thompson is confined to a wheelchair and depends upon her service dog to live independently. Her dog had to have expensive medical treatment and a crowdsourcing page has been set up to help with expenses.
“I haven’t changed at all, it’s just that I’m in a wheelchair now,” says Thomson.
The 2015 Champlin Park Grad became a quadriplegic after diving into her grandparent’s pool when she was in the 7th grade.
“I dove from the shallow end stairs into the shallow end, so I broke my C5 and C6 spinal cord,” said Thomson.
Service dog helps Thomson
A service dog named Mia came to live with Thomson and help her out about a year after the accident.
“She’s family,” says Thomson. “She’s also a really good friend, and she’s also a tool.”
The English Lab helps to open doors both literally and figuratively.
“People approach me differently. They see the dog, rather than oh, look at this person in a chair,” explained Thomson.
She would not be able to attend the University of Arizona and live independently without Mia’s assistance.
“It could be the difference between getting out the door or not, said Thomson. “We have a button to open my door to go outside. And let’s say I drop that button, well, okay, now what?”
But the dog tore a ligament in one of her legs.
“Mia tore it being excited about her food, after a really long road trip, like any lab would be.”
The surgery was expensive, but she had no other choice but to help Mia. Between the ER visit and surgery, the total is about $6200.00
A Gofundme page has been set up to help with the cost. Many of Thomson’s Champlin Park friends have donated.
“They’ve been able to kind of lift that burden more and we’ve been able to focus on getting Mia better, Thomson said.
She heads back to the University of Arizona in a few weeks. She’s hoping Mia recovers enough to make the trip.