Hello Emma! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a positive and happy person and I live in Varberg with my service dog Quincie. When I'm not working with marketing in Gothenburg, I have a great interest in dog training. I never say no to a night out with friends or family, and I'm also an adrenaline junkie so traveling is a must - both to the sun and high up on the ski slope with a sitski.
Who is Quincie?
Quincie is a happy and energetic 3-year-old Labrador who knows how to enjoy life. She is also a very brave and fearless dog. This girl knows what she wants and is just as stubborn as her owner, which is good and bad. She likes to show that she knows things and is always willing to learn something new. But she is also determined with what she doesn't like, an example of this is water. YES, I got the labrador who doesn't like bathing or going out in the rain! She absolutely does not go in puddles unless she has to, in other words, there is a reason why she has been nicknamed “the little diva”.
The best thing about Quincie is her optimism. She is always happy about the little things and what is wonderful about her optimism is that it is contagious. If she gets involved in, for example, training, going out or something else, so do I. She is extremely fond of food and the best thing in the summer is watermelon, she lives by the motto "if it can be eaten, it must be eaten". But for her, the highlight of the day is probably when it's time for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
What was it like when Quincie moved in with you?
2 years ago my life changed - one hundred percent for the better, but it was absolutely not what I expected. Two years ago I had never owned a dog or even looked after a dog. Now I would not only become a dog owner but also a dog handler. When they came from Kustmarken and left Quincie I was very happy but also nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I had somewhere built up a picture in my head of how it would be based on things I had read, heard and seen. It was a romanticized view of reality, not because I thought nothing would be difficult, but because I was completely wrong about what would be difficult and easy.
Quincie quickly taught me that the hard part wasn't going to be training her to be an assistance dog, that was the easy part. The hard part was getting to know this amazing and wonderful individual who had come home to me. I've loved Quincie since day one, but getting to know her and trusting her took time which in my head at the time would only take three days. It took time for both of us to get to know each other and to trust each other and shape a new everyday life. It was tough to bring home a dog you didn't know and at the same time learn what it means to be a dog owner and a good dog handler. But these two years without Quincie, I don't even want to know what it could have looked like. I can't imagine what life was like before I had Quincie because it feels like she has always been a part of my life and I never want to change that.
What does Quincie help you with in your everyday life?
Many people say that a dog is just a dog. There is a lot wrong with that expression but to me Quincie is anything but just a dog. First of all, she is a fantastic service dog and, in other words, an aid to cope with my everyday life more independently, this due to my functional variation cerebral palsy (CP damage) which affects my ability to control certain muscles in my body which leads to me having difficulty with my fine motor skills and balance, for example. So Quincie helps me pick things up and move around by acting as a balance support. She can also help me take off my jacket, open doors and much more.
Has your life changed since Quincie came into the picture?
Quincie is not only practical support but also a huge safety and comfort. The feeling of not being alone but always having your best friend by your side is indescribable. Due to my physical functional variation, in many situations I can feel a bit exposed and not having to feel alone in those situations means a lot to me. Last but not least, Quincie has contributed to increased independence in various ways in my everyday life. She also gives me the will to continue fighting physically and against all the prejudices and injustices that exist around people with functional variations.
Quincie has changed my life in such a way that everyday is always a little brighter and has so much more joy in it. She has changed my view of myself and has given me the security and confidence to dare to stand up for myself a little more and for my rights.
What do you like to do together?
We like to take forest walks together, practice rally obedience and lots of cuddles.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about your and Quincie's wonderful relationship?
I would also like to add that the beauty of having a service dog like Quincie is that our relationship is so equal. When you have a functional variation, it means that your physical freedom and independence is always in someone else's hands, and you are always more dependent on a person than they are on you. Therefore, my relationship with Quincie is precious and special because she needs me as much as I need her.
Another thing that has been a challenge for both of us is that Quincie is a dog who loves just about everything and everyone. This has been something we have had to practice a lot on because she has liked to greet people, and often in situations where she shouldn't. But after a lot of training and perseverance, she has now realized that when the harness is on, that means time to work. But once the harness comes off, you can go back to being the crazy and oversocial doggy you really are! After all, she has a talent for charming most people she meets.
We at petgood couldn't be more proud to have Emma and Quincie as our ambassadors!