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Canine Friends



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   I am female yellow lab. I was born on 1 July 2002 in CA in the Loving Paws Assistance Dogs program. My dog mom and dad were Emma and Sutter. Since me and my 7 sisters and 2 brothers were born close to July 4th, they dubbed us the Patriotic Litter and my new mom, Carlene, chose the name of Freedom for me. I went back to CA in October 2003 to start advanced training. I did very well and graduated as a service dog on 30 July 2004 to a sweet girl named Brittany. I will help her do many physical things like opening doors, picking up things for her and being her best pal so she does not have to be so shy.


Having Freedom Means Having Freedom
Before I had Freedom I was very shy and unhappy because I have Mitochondrial disease and it is very painful. It leaves me with no energy so I miss a lot of school, and life seemed too hard to do. I didn't like talking in front of people at all.

Since Freedom has been in my life, I have accomplished many things. I have put on many fund raisers spreading awareness about Mitochondrial disease and raising funds for research to find a cure. I have given many interviews for a number of papers and done a handful of live interviews for our news station. I go to science classrooms and talk about the mitochondria cells and how it affects me because mine do not works correctly. I get kids to help with my dinners, golf tournaments and walk a thons. I have raised almost 20,000 dollars in less than a year. and was named the first Youth Ambassador for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

Freedom has given me so much confidence, courage, stability and unconditional love. I meet people and talk to them because they see Freedom first and not my wheelchair.. Freedom helps me if I need help or if I drop something, she stays at the hospital with me and I am in days, weeks and months at a time. She is my best friend and thank the Lord for leading me to Loving Paws in Santa Rosa.

                                               ~~Brittany Wilkinson


Brittany had a particularily aggressive version of mitochondrial disease and she died on 6 September at the age of 18.  


 Despite many, many days in the hospital with numerous surgeries she made it to her senior prom and to her graduation, always with Freedom by her side.  Freedom was given a special diploma at the graduation.


At Brit's funeral/celebration, they started off with a standing ovation for Freedom for her many years of faithful service to Brit.  She got up on the stage and wagged that little tail in full circles.  Freedom will continue to help the Wilkinson family in this difficult time. 

Brit was an amazing kid, did so much promotion for mitochondrial disease research even though she spent more than half her time in the hospital.  She would manage to get out long enough to go her prom, to graduation, to Disneyland with her family and recently to Washington, D.C. to meet with a senator about legislation for mitochondrial disease research, to set up fund raisers for mitochondrial research, and to put a large poster on some CA buses. 


Freedy went everywhere with her and was by her side when she died and became very depressed when her special friend was gone.


Here is one of just many articles and interviews with Brit talking about her disease: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/36686/brittany_wilkinson_a_poster_child_for.html?cat=52

And there is much more about her and Freedom on her website: http://www.brittanywilkinson.org/ 

I feel blessed to have had Freedom as a puppy and to have been part of Brittany's life through my Freedy.