Hero Dog Awards - Francis


metairie, Louisiana

I got Francis when she was 8 weeks old. She was shoved into my arms by a stranger who said “this is your dog.” And she is my dog. Francis and I were homeless for the first two years of her life. During that time, she pulled me out of a very dark place by showing me what it was to really love and be loved by someone. Together, we escaped homelessness and she continued to help me heal as I task trained her as a service animal.

Francis worked as my service animal for 8 years, retiring as she developed arthritis in her spine. She supported me through my undergraduate degree and attended every single class of my masters program. I joke that she earned her own grad degree.

Francis is the reason that my disabilities have not prevented me from escaping homelessness. She has given me the strength and independence to attend school and thrive. Prior to her training, my symptoms prevented me from being able to function in normal society. I was agoraphobic and had panic attacks entering stores. Now I am a PhD candidate.

Francis has been mostly retired for about two years, though she continued to help me with doctors appointments, until two weeks ago, as they are difficult for her successor, who is just now finishing the public access portion of his service animal training.

Francis is my whole heart. She saved my life.

Francis beat both mast cell and melamona cancers already. She was diagnosed with bone cancer on 2/18/2022 and I found out that it had metastasized on 2/22/22