Meet my new addition! (and some thoughts)


Meet Cassius! He is a 2-year old Lab/Golden cross, super-mellow and loves to please. His favorite activities (in no particular order) are eating, sleeping, and cuddling. That sounds like a personal ad gone wrong.  Anyway, he came home on Friday from our 2-week stay at doggie boot camp (aka Canine Companions for Independence, in Santa Rosa, CA).

I’ve been struggling with how to write a blog post about this, in the context of this blog.  More so because I struggle with how to explain my individual experience with my individual manifestation of Moebius syndrome.

I don’t talk about a lot of things to most people. There’s no use in chronicling pain, illness and injury just to get sympathy votes.  But then that creates a weird, unspoken cycle. I wonder, do other people not talk about it?  Or am I the only one? 

I never remember my legs not hurting, not aching after a normal day walking around.  I can’t remember the specific moment when going down the stairs started to become a rather wobbly, questionablly-safe affair.  It just is what it is, and I grew accustomed to popping the Alleve and going on with my life.

Enter a program with absurdly gorgeous, highly-trained assistance dogs trained to help pick up things from the floor, to hand them to me, to do all kinds of other amazing things… and to look absolutely cute while doing them (which is, of course, a high priority).

Somehow, though, I’m not sure how to contextualize this within the greater Moebius syndrome community, where I sometimes feel like one of the few with more neurological impairments.  It’s weird, it’s easier to explain to a room of virtual strangers that I have a neurological disorder that causes difficulties in vision, coordination, balance and endurance to attempt to explain to people familiar with Moebius that the craniofacial pareisis is the least of my daily concerns!  I know that’s not true for everyone with Moebius, though. 

Maybe I’m too private about my individual experiences, but even I would get a little bored with a never-ending chronicle of what-hurts-now!  So it goes unspoken.  I’m not sure if anyone really wants to know.

But anyway, my hopes for my life with Cassius include: helping me with things that are hard for me, reducing chronic pain, and enabling me to find a bunch of volunteer opportunities with my local CCI chapter.  I’ve been feeling a void in my in-person volunteering ever since I moved and stopped volunteering at a local therapeutic riding barn, and this should be perfect!

So for now, I’m going to continue to live my life, how I want to (and with a little help from someone with four legs and a wagging tail).


  1. stitchinstein says:

    Hi Natalie, Congratulations on being a graduate! We are raising our 2nd cci pup. It is always so great to hear how these dogs change lives and make life so much easier. I hope your hurts won’t hurt so much now…Love your blog, Cathy


  2. how wonderful! looking forward to hearing more about your pup!


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