Since Denise’s beautiful current Service Dog Ember, at left, will have to retire soon, Denise is planning for her
successor dog. When she visited ECAD and met several of the Service Dogs-in-Training, Denise knew
immediately that an ECAD Service Dog will help her maintain her independence and quality of life.
Meet ECAD Client Denise Jones
All my life I have been active in sports, school, and within the community. I was a three-sport athlete in high school and had many outdoor hobbies including golf, flower gardening, scuba diving, keeping koi (which is a lot harder than it looks) and participating in 4-H. After high school, I attended a local community college majoring in Engineering and played softball. I then transferred to Eastern Illinois University and finished my academics with a degree in Middle School Education with endorsements in Math, Science, and Social Science while being a member of the track team. I participated in the high jump, javelin, and once in the heptathlon, qualifying for the Division I outdoor regionals in the high jump the two years I competed.
During the 2005 spring semester at EIU, I started experiencing an increase in symptoms I had had since childhood. These symptoms continued to get worse for another eight years and eventually became debilitating. My life changed completely. I went from being independent, full of life, and active to feeling as though a truck had hit me nearly every day. After seeing many specialists over the years, I made it to Rush University Hospital in Chicago that I received a correct diagnosis of Dysautonomia, more specifically Autonomic Neuropathy, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type III. The diagnosis was a true life saver.
Living with these two diseases can make life challenging and unpredictable, but I have learned to adapt. When my disability allows, I am able to mentor a girl in grade school and coach junior high and high school track. I also take the town’s athletic photographs for the local paper and the high school yearbook; and, I am able enjoy the outdoors.
I am incredibly grateful to have an amazing support network that includes my current service dog Ember. Ember has had three knee surgeries and am unsure how much longer she will be able to work. She has helped me to become more independent and confident when I leave the house and to learn to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am currently seeking a successor dog, so I can continue to be active in the community and volunteer within the school district.
Thank you for your generous gifts to ECAD in honor of Denise Jones.
Donations are 100% tax-deductible as allowable by law. If your employer has a Matching Gift program, please complete the form and
mail it to ECAD, P.O. Box 831, Torrington, CT 06790.