Adopted Dog Helps Teen Make New Strides
Samson’s love and support were what Shane needed most.
Shane + Samson
After an illness left 17-year-old Shane with quadriplegia, he was determined to walk again. Thanks to Samson, he’s making strides—and Samson is loving life with his new best friend.
"Instead of me being the center of attention because of my height and my disability, people gravitate towards me to talk about how cool Samson is. It’s nice to always have a furry friend there to calm you down when things aren't going the best."
My name is Shane Roof and I’m a 17-year-old quadriplegic. In May of 2017, I was affected by Acute Flaccid Myelitis. AFM is a rare disease that affects the spinal cord, the part of the nervous system that carries messages to and from the brain. I lost all of my movement and the ability to breathe on my own in the span of eight hours. It’s still hard to wrap my head around this happening to me, but there’s one thing I’ll never do, and that is give up.
I’m not going to let this injury decide who I am and what I can do as a person. I’ve been doing aggressive physical therapy for the past two and a half years. I’ve had to relearn how to walk and breathe again with help from my wonderful doctors and therapists. With hard work and determination, I started walking again; but my balance was an issue. This is where Samson fits in and has made all the difference in my life.
Two years from being affected with AFM, I finally got to meet my best friend, Samson. I feel like we’re perfect for each other, he helps me and I help him. I found out recently that Samson was found as a stray and was in a high kill shelter before the Humane Society of Oldham County rescued him. It feels good to know I saved him and now he’s doing the same for me. Independence is my goal, Samson is more than helping me achieve that. I feel super confident walking with him, and you can tell he just wants to please me.
Samson has changed my life for the better in a lot of ways. One way he has helped is motivating me to go out and do more social activities. He helps me when I meet new people, instead of me being the center of attention because of my height and my disability, people gravitate towards me to talk about how cool Samson is. It’s nice to always have a furry friend there to calm you down when things aren’t going the best. I’ve always been a laid-back person but sometimes things get tough and you could always use some dog lovings.
I think the best thing he has done is help me become my own person. I’ve had to depend on my parents ever since my injury, but the confidence he gives me has opened a door to achieving my independence again.
I am grateful to the Humane Society of Oldham County along with Camp K-9 for placing Samson in my life. The inmates at Camp K-9 with the help from dog trainer David Benson are able to train all dogs that go up for adoption at Humane Society of OC for free. David is then able to evaluate if any of these dogs have potential to be trained on an even higher level to become service dogs for people in need just like me.
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Shane won Humane Society of Oldham County in LaGrange, Kentucky a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.