His name was Manny and he was my angel dog. Manny was boxy like a black lab, had the soft face of a boarder collie and the curly ears of a cocker spaniel. He was five and had been neglected by a neighbor's son. The neighbor was a retired cop and brought the dog to his house. He offered the dog to me and my girls because he felt we needed Manny.
I had been told I had ALS five years before we were offered Manny. I was a single mom of two young girls, living in a rented house. The doctors gave me no hope or much time. I could not imagine taking on a dog. But Manny stole our hearts and even the landlord gave his approval. Manny was a good dog and he immediately knew there was something wrong with me. He was always at my side from day one, as I fought to survive ALS/MND.
An example of his wings are many but it was the first time he helped me that started our journey. One day I went to get off the couch and Manny jumped up from his nap to follow. As he sat on his hind legs waiting I had just made my fourth attempt to rise. Manny began nudging me with his nose but in my frustration I ignored his concern. I tried it again and failed when Manny barked at me, while still nudging. I asked him in a pissy voice "WHAT boy?" I saw concern and scratched his neck. He kept raising his head as I scratched and then I got it. I held the arm of the couch with my left hand and I put my right hand behind Manny's head. He was still sitting but he stiffened his neck and legs while I pulled. He held firm as I stood up and in that moment we were a team.
It's with a heavy heart that I must say Manny is no longer with me. He lived for seventeen beautiful years. He watched my girl's marry and even six years ago he gave up his side of our bed to my new husband. I am a very rare case of ALS because most die in 2-4yrs and I am nearing 2oyrs. Through all of my long day's, hormonal teens and falls. Manny's unconditional love remained strong. His ashes will be spread with mine as a tribute to our love and friendship.
15 cases a day are diagnosed with ALS in the US. 2-4 year mortality rate and there is no cure. Brain stops messages to muscles, leaving you trapped in your body and mind is fully aware.