Hi, I’m Russ Perry. I lived most of my life without any serious health problems. I was active and vibrant and completely independent. Then, almost out of nowhere, my body began to betray me.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and suddenly simple tasks became difficult. I stopped being athletic and eventually could no longer work. My focus in life became learning to overcome the effects of the disease.
That’s when I discovered Amazing Tails and the miracle of what a service dog could mean for my life. I want so much to be able to reap the benefits of the confidence and independence a service dog brings, but service dogs are expensive, even though Amazing Tails is more affordable than most training organizations. Without help, I simply cannot afford it.
I’m a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend to many. I want the last part of my life to be happy and free. I want to someday play with my great grandchildren!
Please donate to Amazing Tails and share my story with other people who can help.
“You Believe in the Power! It’ll be Alright!”
Russ Perry is a 58-year-old with progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Born into an athletic family, he enjoyed an active childhood with his older brother and younger sisters. In high school he lettered in three sports: football, basketball and baseball.
Following high school, he worked in heavy construction and in 1986, started working in the maintenance department at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware, an active, happy community, full of life and energy.
In 1989, Russ was on campus for the filming of “Dead Poets Society,” and it was during the filming that he experienced the early symptoms of the disease.
The late, great Robin Williams had stopped by the maintenance building to meet everyone. Russ had a camera and started filming.
“My legs began to shake uncontrollably, and Robin Williams noticed,” Russ said. “He steadied the camera, looked into the lens, and went into his shtick, ‘You believe in the power! It’ll be alright!’”
For a decade, the shaking, weakness and loss of balance got worse. Russ’s coworkers noticed his clumsiness and would joke, “Hey, Russ, don’t trip over that twig!” or “Watch out for the white line in the pavement!”
He laughed with them, but inside he was terrified. Robin William’s words, “You believe in the power! It’ll be alright!” echoed in his mind as he made his first neurologist appointment in 1999.
Diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS, his life had changed forever.
Since the diagnosis he has kept MS at bay with exercise and various procedures, including an abdominal implant of a pump that injects an anti-spasticity drug, into his spine.
“As the disease progresses, I am in a constant state of adaption,” he said. “Even with the assistance of a cane, walking takes intense concentration. I cannot turn my head from side to side or stop quickly. Curbs present a particular challenge as my momentum can carry me into traffic.”
After retiring in 2015, his life’s focus has been on overcoming the debilitating effects of the disease. He recently interviewed at Amazing Tails and was amazed by the difference a service dog could make.
“I was overwhelmed by the sense of confidence and independence that a service dog can provide,” he said. “I wanted to take that dog home, but it’s not that easy. Service dogs go through an intensive training regimen, and it ain’t cheap. Each service dog costs $10,000 to train, so I must be patient and help raise the funds for Amazing Tails.”
If you are fortunate enough to live life with few health issues beyond the occasional cold or pulled muscle, it’s difficult to understand how close you are to losing all independence due to an unforeseen illness or injury.
For millions of people with significant health problems, the simplest tasks are ordeals. Every step, every movement, every choice must be considered with the utmost care and caution.
For many people, a service dog is the link to living a better, safer, more independent life.
That’s where Amazing Tails, LLC comes in.
Since 1999, Amazing Tails has been identifying and training dogs that perform life saving services for their human partners.
These dogs help people walk with stability. They open doors for people using wheelchairs. They warn those with hearing problems that fire alarms are wailing. They alert those who suffer from seizures that one is coming, minutes before it does.
They bring independence and security to people’s lives in a way that nothing else can.
Amazing Tails does this at a minimum of cost for those who need help the most, but who can usually afford it the least.
These amazing animals are expensive, costing more than $10,000 per dog, including identification, extensive customized training and top care.
Please donate to Amazing Tails to help Russ and so many others in similar circumstances.
Thank you for your support.