Kaylee is the main character of "Our Service Dogs" and my daughter. She has so much energy and spunk! Riley has brought a lot of wonderful things to our lives.
Kaylee was born with cerebral palsy and diagnosed at age 3. She took her first successful un-aided steps at around 4 years old and still needs a bit of help to get around. When we got Kaylee's first walker (age 4), we took her to Costco and let her loose. It was her first time ever getting to walk around in a store and she absolutely LOVED it!! It was a freedom she had never experienced before.
However, it did not take long to realize that the walker and wheelchair had some pretty major limitations.
That summer, we went to a rocky beach with a group of friends. As all of the kids ran around playing, Kaylee crawled around after them trying to keep up and her knees started to bleed. I watched her struggling, thinking to myself that there had to be a better way. That is when Riley's story started. But I'll go more into that on another post.
Riley is trained to walk next to Kaylee and give her mobility support.
As of right now, we mostly use Riley at home and other places where wheels don't make sense, but we occasionally take her to the store or public gatherings if Kaylee feels like walking off the beaten path.
Riley has brought a lot of confidence, companionship, and peace into Kaylee's day to day.
The two of them love to play outside together, train, and just be silly.
I love watching these two learn and grow together and cant wait to see what the future brings!
Find Kaylee and Riley in "Our Service Dogs" available now!
I'm super excited to introduce you all to our littlest service dog and her amazing person, Sarah.
Most of the service dogs in my book do work for people with disabilities that are recognizable from the outside. Bella's work involves helping Sarah with her invisible disability.
Sarah has debilitating depression and anxiety. People with mental illnesses often opt for an emotional support animal (ESA), but Sarah trained Bella to do more than give her support. Bella is trained to take specific action to help Sarah with her disability, making Bella a psychiatric service dog.
Bella alerts Sarah when her heartrate begins to elevate. She also interrupts anxious behaviors. If Sarah starts nervously shaking her legs, Bella gently paws Sarah. Bella is trained to find and alert Sarah's mom, if Sarah needs her. Bella's most common task is to apply light pressure therapy, which sends calming signals throughout Sarah's body.
Bella, has made a crucial difference in Sarah's life. Mental illness can be just as debilitating as any other disability. When I interviewed Sarah for my book, she said, "My favorite thing about Bella is how loving and caring she is. Bella has improved my life a lot. I wouldn’t be here without her..."
Not only does Bella help Sarah using the tasks she knows, she has also helped Sarah in giving her a fulfilling hobby: dog training! Sarah did all of Bella's service dog training and the two have been hard at work learning agility, tricks, stunts, exercising, and passing many training tests, winning certificates.
I really enjoyed getting to know Bella and Sarah for "Our Service Dogs". Not only is Bella one of the cutest dogs I've ever seen, she is also an incredible asset to Sarah's life, and I bet if we could ask her, Bella would say the same of Sarah.
Find Sarah and Bella on Instagram @theservicespaniel
See Sarah and Bella in "Our Service Dogs" Available now on Amazon.
A really common question I get is, "What breed of dog can be a service dog?"
So I made another infographic all about service dog breeds.
Scroll through and comment with your favorite dog breed!
*All dog photos from Pexels.com
Meet Abri and Oliver!
Abri lost her left leg to Ewing Sacroma, a rare form of cancer, when she was 7 years old. Oliver was meant to be her service dog. He was supposed to grow to be around 80lbs but ended up being much smaller than Abri and her family had anticipated.
He is too small to do mobility work for Abri, but he is perfect for another really important job. Oliver spends most of his time in Abri's shadow, encouraging her on hard days, and giving her lots of love on the good ones.
Oliver may be small, but he is really smart! Abri loves teaching him new tricks and thinks she may end up teaching him some official service dog tasks in the future. For now, the support he gives emotionally is exactly what Abri needs.
I had the opportunity to video chat with Abri and Oliver recently. It was so fun to see how connected they were. Abri was smiling ear to ear while she talked about how smart and loyal Oliver is.
Abri has had some pretty tough experiences but I am so impressed with the way she faces life head on! She has done motivational speaking, been in many news articles, gone on Crystal Maze on Nickelodeon, modeled for Abercrombie kids, competed and won a recent dance challenge, and is using her voice to spread awareness for childhood cancer! This girl is unstoppable!
To learn more about Abri and the amazing things she is doing, follow her on social media @teamabri.
See her Instagram here
Don't miss Abri and Oliver in "Our Service Dogs" available now!
Here are your current purchase options for "Our Service Dogs" by Amber Diane Hill. Learn more about "Our Service Dogs" Here.
Pre orders will ship April 15th 2021.
Click on the picture to learn about that option
It's Warrior Wednesday again and today I'm going to introduce you to Lane and Thunder. Thunder is Lanes diabetes alert dog. When Lanes blood sugar gets low, his breath becomes perfumed with ketones, and other smells that Thunder was trained to recognize. When Thunder detects these smells, she gently paws or nudges Lane to prompt him to take his insulin.
Thunder is not a replacement for checking blood sugar levels, but she is an amazing early warning system for Lane.
On top of type 1 diabetes, Lane is also battling Cancer. Because of this, Lane spends a lot of time in the hospital, sometimes he is there for a month at a time! When Lane goes, so does Thunder. The two snuggle up in bed, color, and watch tv. Thunder helps Lane beat the boredom and feel calm before big surgeries.
To prep for my book, I asked Lane and his mom what their favorite thing about Thunder was. Lane said that his favorite thing was she made him feel safe. Lanes mom's answer was, "My favorite thing is the confidence she has given Lane. Before she arrived he was to scared to sleep in his own room since his diagnosis of t1d & cancer, the first day we had her he slept in his room, something he hadn’t done in over a year."
Lane has a special bond with Thunder, but she is not the only amazing animal that gives Lane the support and love he needs. Lane has another dog, Summer, who is his shadow at home, and a horse. Lane is a strong kid, with some steep challenges. With the help of his family, and furry friends, he is able to face his challenges and enjoy life the way a kid should.
Learn more about diabetes alert dogs here
Quinn does a lot of amazing things to help Olivia. But one of his greatest accomplishments is being her partner is clever costumes. Check them out! they have won contests:
Aside from crushing it at costumes. Olivia, with Quinn at her side, won the county wide Quiz bowl without any teammates!
Olivia is unstoppable! She has done some pretty amazing things. However, before having Quinn, it was really difficult for her to interact with other people. Because of her invisible disabilities, she was on reduced hours at school and avoided crowds and other people. Now she is back to almost a full day in school and winning competitions!
Lets talk about Quinn's tasks:
Migraine Alert: Some dogs have the naturally ability to detect when a person is about to have a migraine, Quinn is one of those dogs! He can give Olivia a warning before a migraine so she can prepare as needed. Most dogs alert this by licking their handlers hand or arm.
DPT: also known as Deep Pressure Therapy, is when a dog lays on, or applies pressure to their handler's body. This is used for a variety of health problems, but for Olivia it is to help her body calm down before, after, and during an anxiety attack. Quinn may sense Olivia's high anxiety and apply DPT on his own, or Olivia can ask for DPT when she feels a panic attack coming on.
Blocking: For people with high social anxiety, like Olivia, having a barrier between them and strangers can make all the difference. Quinn provides this for Olivia by stepping in between her and other people if they are making her nervous. This is another task Quinn can do on his own if he senses that Olivia needs it.
Nut detection: Olivia is allergic to nuts, so Quinn is trained to smell them out and warn her if there are any near by. Allergy detection can be done one of two ways. In Quinn's case, he is trained to smell for the allergen--nuts. Other dogs, who's handler has many allergies, are trained to smell for the release of histamine from their handler's body. This can be especially helpful for people with conditions like Mast cell activation syndrome.
Interruption: When Olivia get anxious, she may start picking at or itching her skin. Quinn is trained to stop these behaviors by nudging her hand.
Believe it or not, there are many other things Quinn does for Olivia. He really is her hero. You can read more about what amazing dogs to for people with invisible disabilities here.
There is no question that Olivia and Quinn are better together. Quinn gives Olivia the freedom to go out and be a part of her family and community without having to worry about her medical conditions.
I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Olivia and Quinn as much as I did. I am excited to see what amazing things these two do next!
Here is a sneak peek of Olivia and Quinn in my book "Our Service Dogs" available now on Amazon.
Today is the day!!!!!
"Our Service Dogs" is officially released!
I plan to celebrate with some tacos and lots of napping ;)
Not only am I officially announcing the release of "Our Service Dogs" paperback, which you can purchase on Amazon for $10.35 Here, but I am also here to announce that pre-orders for the hardcover are live!
I originally planned to release the hardcover in the summer, but so many people were wanting it for their home and school libraries that I thought I'd work really hard and make it available asap!
Pre-orders will be shipped by April 15th, Just a little over a month away!!
So here are the 3 ways you can buy "Our Service Dogs" (all prices include shipping):
The softcover/ paperback copy is available on Amazon right now for $10.35. It includes free "Prime" shipping and only takes a couple of days to arrive at your doorstep. I was really happy with the print quality and price!
How it is different: Softcover with "perfect binding". No text on the spine. Copyright page is in the back of the book.
2. Hardcover Pre-Order
Starting on April 15th the hardcover will be available on multiple platforms including Amazon and my website for $21. Until then, you can pre-order it on my website. These books will ship by April 15th 2021. I have not been given my proof yet, (I will do a video post when I do) but I have heard really good things about the printer. Libraries commonly purchase their books through them so I think we can expect excellent quality hardcovers.
How it is different: High-quality hardcover with matte finish. Ships April 15th. Will be available on multiple platforms including Amazon.
3. Premium Signed Hardcover
Starting today you can pre-order the premium hardcover of "Our Service Dogs". These will be printed by a world class printing company that just so happens to be local to me! Each copy will be signed by myself as well as Kaylee and Riley. I expect these to be shipped no later then April 15th.
How it is different: Premium Hardcover with gloss finish. Signed by Amber, Kaylee, and Riley. Only available on my website.
Well there you have it, I am officially a published author... self published... but it totally counts! Thank you all so much for your support and feedback! I have learned so much and created something that I am really proud of and cannot wait to share with the world.
Get a peek and learn more about "Our Service Dogs" here.
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Amber Diane Hill
A place for me to dump info about my book
Blog posts about some awesome kids who use service dogs
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