Katie & Morph

Morph: “My bright ray of sunshine”

Service dog cheers client with traumatic brain injury

On what should have been a magical honeymoon, Katie’s life took a shattering turn. She and her husband were horseback riding when Katie fell off her horse and ruptured the arteries in the back of her neck, resulting in a massive blood clot. The clot caused a severe stroke, resulting in traumatic brain injury that forever altered the newly married couple’s lives.

The accident left Katie with loss of balance, visual impairments, post-traumatic stress, and the loss of all memories during the preceding year, including her courtship, engagement, and wedding day. Says Katie, “This was a devastatingly unexpected event, but with my Freedom Service Dog Morph (aka Morphie) by my side, my life has been changed.”

Katie had waited nearly two years before being matched in 2015 with Morph, a yellow Labrador retriever who came to FSD from Colorado’s Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program. Katie and her husband traveled from their home in Kansas to attend our two-week placement class, during which Morph was custom trained to meet his partner’s unique needs. Among other tasks, Morph is trained to assist Katie with brace and balance, as well as anxiety relief. Says Katie, “I am more mobile without assistance from family and better able to cope in crowds and other stressful situations. Having a service dog has changed my family’s life by giving us something positive to focus on instead of the stresses of daily life. My family has renewed peace of mind during times when I have to be home alone because they know Morph is with me always.”

“When I acquired a disability, it was really hard not to feel sorry for myself,” continues Katie. “Morph helps me with that. He is my bright ray of sunshine. Being partnered with him helps me with self-confidence about going out and dealing with things that would have made me afraid in the past. Morph is always there to cheer me up and on. I thank FSD for all their hard work in providing me with such a beautiful gift.”

Contact Erin Conley at econley@freedomservicedogs.org for all media inquiries.