When Australian Erin Condrin was preparing for a school dance, she passionately wanted to include her service dog in the affair. Condrin copes with Classical Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes consistent joint dislocations, difficulty with tasks like writing, food complications, and chemical allergies. To help her address these symptoms, last year, Condrin ended up adopting a service dog named Lacey from Canine Helpers Australia: an organization that relies on charitable donations to help others like Condrin.
“Thanks to Lacey, I am so much more independent. If I drop something, I can ask Lacey to pick it up, instead of waiting for someone to come over and help me. She helps me open and close doors, meaning I can use accessible bathrooms independently. I can now change clothes and carry bags more easily, and she even helps me with wheelchair transfers by placing my footplate in the correct position,” Condrin told BuzzFeed. “Emotionally, too, she has made such a positive impact. During hospital stays and rest periods at home, I know I always have someone by my side. Being a young disabled person can be daunting, but facing the world with an adorable fluffball by my side makes it so much easier.”
Considering all that Lacey's done for her, Condrin couldn't imagine preparing for senior formal without her. That's why she had JPS Design create customized, matching dresses for herself and her dog. “Lacey brought a smile to everyone's faces,” Condrin revealed. “The ladies at the hairdresser's took lots of photos and kept giggling whenever they looked over at her.” As for everyone at her school, they kept asking for photos of Lacey in her beautiful doggy dress, especially since she wasn't able to attend the actual dance portion of the evening. “We've only been a team for a few months, so I didn't feel ready to take her to an event with a massive crowd and so many flashing lights. I can't wait to take her to formal events in the future, though,” Condrin explained.
The high school student is also incredibly grateful for all the humans who helped make her school dance special. “I'd like people to know that disabilities don't stop for special occasions,” asserted Condrin. “To make the night possible, we designed a dress from scratch to suit a wheelchair, hired a ramp to take to the venue, organized medications around the events, and more. But it was such a special night, thanks to all the people that went out of their way to support and assist me.”