My story started long before Puppies On Wheels, and this is how it began. I came into this world as a 1 lb. 14oz. micro-premature baby. By the time I was just 18 months of age, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. My mother is an Italian American. My father immigrated to the USA. I am youngest of two. My family and I are Christian.
Having CP throughout my life has caused me to be unable to do basic things by myself such as sitting, walking, and daily living skills. Unfortunately, surgeries and therapies became a part of life for myself and many people with disabilities. Shortly after I was diagnosed with CP, I began Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapies. These therapies continued for many many years on a weekly basis. They helped me with things such as walking with a walker and many other skills. PT and OT are long and sometimes painful processes for people with disabilities. However, my limitations don't end with my physical challenges. I have ongoing health issues and have had to undergo countless major surgeries throughout the years.
Most recently In 2017 and 2014, I had to endure emergency surgeries.
In 2017, I was hospitalized for a combined 12 weeks and on TPN for four months I was also hospitalized for 12 days in 2015.
I also had a major surgery in 2012, the same month that Puppies On Wheels was printed. After having a total spinal fusion for severe scoliosis, I spent a great deal of time in hospitals and The Ronald McDonald House. This was when I had my first experience with dog therapy. I watched the wonderful expression of a dog comforting children with medical conditions and their families. This was also very comforting to me and my family. Therefore, when Papageno came into my life, I began my quest to dog therapy. Puppies On Wheels became my way to make a difference.
*Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a collection of motor disorders resulting from damage to the brain that occurs before, during or after birth. This affects the motor system, as a result the child has poor coordination, poor balance or abnormal movement patterns - or a combination of these characteristics. These effects range from mild to moderate to severe impairment. Gabrielle has moderate Spastic
Diplegia Cerebral Palsy