Sinead and K9 Foreman
Sinéad is a vibrant young woman who is a service dog and disability rights advocate and activist. She has spoken at Parliament Hill and the Ontario legislature on issues affecting those with disabilities, as well as the benefits of service dogs and the need for better service animal legislation. She is also an ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation and shares her story as she speaks to schools about accessibility and inclusion.
Sinead was born with Parkes Weber Syndrome, which is a degenerative and life-threatening condition that impacts her muscular, skeletal, vascular, and lymphatic systems.
Parkes Weber Syndrome is exceptionally rare and affects fewer than 800 people WORLDWIDE.
Due to the rarity of Parkes Weber Syndrome, there aren’t many treatment options for those who live with it. Treatment varies case by case. Sinéad’s symptoms include her right side being significantly larger than her left, resulting in chronic pain, spasticity and limited mobility, as well as lymphedema,
life-threatening internal and external bleeds, blood clots that develop in her deep veins and her lungs, and chronic open wounds. Her condition results in infections requiring extended IV treatments, and she is at risk of developing heart failure.
Sinéad’s search for a service dog began in 2014, and resulted in Paddington becoming part of her family. Unfortunately, a series of circumstances resulted in Paddington having to retire. This left Sinead and her family absolutely devastated and concerned for her health, safety and future.
On the advice of a friend and fellow MSAR Service Dog handler, Sinéad contacted MSAR service dogs.
After multiple conversations with George Leonard, it was determined that Sinéad would require a one-of-a-kind service dog tailored to her complex and unique needs.
In November 2019, Sinéad travelled to Winnipeg and was partnered with K9 Foreman. K9 Foreman is the first service dog to be paired in the Canadian / Israeli partnership between MSAR - Service Dogs and DogSchool Israel.
Since being paired, K9 Foreman has saved Sinéad’s life numerous times by responding to spontaneous bleeds, and detecting life-threatening blood clots and infections before doctors or medical tests could.
Besides saving her life, K9 Foreman enables Sinéad to be independent by helping her to get out of the house, creating space to protect her leg from accidental bumps, providing compression to her leg which helps to treat Lymphedema, detecting dangerous fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure, and performing mobility tasks.
The difference he has made has positively impacted Sinéad and her whole family. He has helped everyone in the family gain back some independence by ensuring that she receives essential medical care whenever needed.
Thanks to MSAR and K9 Foreman, Sinéad is able to be an active member of her community, advocate for other people with disabilities, and live life to the fullest