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4 Paws for Spina Bifida

 

Hello My name is Bill Gregg and I am 36 years old from Syracuse New York but now i live near Tampa Florida. I was born with Myelomeningocele Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Like many individuals with Myelomeningocele Spina Bifida, i have a shunt to control Hydrocephalus and I use a wheelchair to get around due to paralysis from the waist down. I have incontinence but i am able to tell when i need to use the restroom.
I had a pretty good childhood growing up. Fortunately i was not teased or bullied like most children with Spina BIfida. I loved school. I hated getting up early to go to school. I liked seeing all of my friends at school.
I am very much involved with my Spina Bifida Association chapter located in Tampa Florida. We do a lot of events together. My favorite event to participate in is the picnics. The picnics are fun because I get to meet new people. I met my girlfriend Shannon Marie Celentano through the Spina Bifida Association.
When it comes to having a girlfriend who has the same disability as me, I find it comforting. Its nice to have someone who knows what it is like to have a disability. Someone who understands what you go through on a daily basis with having Spina Bifida. Shannon is wonderful!
When i am not able to spend time with my girlfriend Shannon,I am spending time with my service dog Abner. Abner is my black lab service dog from Canine Companions of Independence. The process to get my service dog was long. First i had to fill an application to Canine Companion Of Independence . Then i had to have a phone interview with them. After that i went to their campus in Orlando Florida for a personal interview and then worked with a few dogs. Shortly after that, I was placed on the waiting list for two years until they found the right service dog for me.Then in may of 2015, I went back to Canine Companions Of Independence with my parents. This is where we went through team training for two weeks. The team training was to learn how to take care of Abner. The training process was difficult but fun. I worked with a few dogs before they matched me with Abner.
Getting a service dog is hard work . It was all worth going through to get Abner. I advise anyone who has Spina Bifida or any disability to get a service dog. Having a service dog can enhance your life by helping you gain Independence. In my future i see my self continuing to enjoy my life with Shannon and Abner while participating in events for the Spina Bifida Association or going to dinner together .  

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