Katrina & Dudley

My Best Friend

Before I got Dudley, I was living alone with my mom and dad. I was having a hard time going everywhere because my brain acts in a different way than other people’s brains. I really tried to go places, but I got very nervous and didn’t have much fun. It was hard for me to understand and process my world outside of my home.  So everybody had to come over to my house to visit me because I would not go outside the house.

One day when I was 8 years old, my mom called Freedom Service Dogs and met with Ms. Bri to see if I could get a dog. I needed a dog that didn’t have fur and dander because my mom and dad are allergic to dogs. We waited until they called us.  It seemed like forever until we got a call, but we did get that wonderful call that said, “We think we have a perfect dog for Katrina. We had an owner who wanted to donate a dog. We have a poodle that might just be perfect for a little girl.”  So, we set up a date to go to Freedom to meet Dudley. When we went to Freedom and met him for the first time, it was “love at first sight.” While taking Dudley on a walk, it started raining outside, so I grabbed a pillow from my mom’s car and Dudley and I fell asleep together in his kennel.  This was the first time I ever left my mom’s side and felt safe.  I loved seeing Dudley do “HAPPY” for me when we came to visit him at Freedom!!

After Dudley graduated from Freedom, I brought him home with me. Now, Dudley and I go everywhere together! Dudley was the first poodle Ms Bri ever placed at Freedom.  He changed my life from being scared to being happy.  Dudley even helps me sleep because I feel safe with him all snuggled up next to me. (Even though he hogs my bed, I still love sleeping with him.)  My mom and dad get to sleep all night now and they love it!

Thank you Dudley for being in my life. You have made a big difference in my world.  Now Dudley and I go everywhere together like stores, walks, library, voice lessons, church functions, doctor’s office, restaurants, friend’s houses, and all kinds of places, especially on family trips to the mountains. Dudley even goes to work at Timbuk Toys with me and is really gentle with the kids that want to visit with him after I give him a command.  He loves all kinds of kids: big kids, little kids, and even adults too!

Dudley and I are made for each other. He even helps me with my laundry and carries his own blanket
down the stairs on laundry day. Believe it or not, Dudley is also my shower buddy.  Before Dudley came to live with us, I hated taking showers!  Dudley even makes taking showers more fun for me.  Somehow he makes everything I used to struggle with more fun. Dudley even makes exercising into something I look forward to doing.  He joins my friend and her Great Dane, Henry, and a Golden Retriever named Bailey on our power walks. We call them the Canine Exercise Club.

Thank you Dudley for being my service dog and my best friend! You are the best dog ever and I love you so much!  What would I do without you, Dudley? You make having a different brain easier to live with and have helped me become brave. When I get older, I hope to train dogs, like Dudley, with Ms. Bri’s help, so I can help other kids like me.



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