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Texas woman overcomes setbacks thanks to service dog

Amanda Richardson was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome, which left her with permanent nerve damage.

JARRELL, Texas — Everyday is a little bit of a challenge for Amanda Richardson. 

Richardson is confined to a wheelchair, has to wear a tracheostomy tube and has to use a feeding tube.

However, in the last few years, many of the daily challenges have gotten easier – and that is mostly due to her service dog, Glamour. 

"Life is so much better knowing that I have her here," Richardson said.

Glamour is able to help Richardson with laundry, opening and closing doors and assisting her with whatever tasks she has difficulty accomplishing. 

The pup that she never knew she needed was introduced to her through the nonprofit organization Canine Companions and gave her a confidence and independence Richardson thought she lost. 

"She's changed me in ways I will never, never be more grateful to canine companions," Richardson said. 

Life was different for Richardson in 2017. She was on a different path as an aspiring actress and model on her way to stardom. 

"I felt like things were finally starting to take off. I started with independent film, but I started moving into the actual SAG sector," Richardson said.

It wasn't until a drive home back from Dallas where – at a time she didn't know – her life would take a turn. 

Richardson said she felt a sharp and sudden pain that forced her to stop on the side of the road. When she went to the doctors, they couldn't pinpoint what was wrong.

Two weeks later, she got her answer.

Richardson was taken to Baylor Scott & White Health for emergency back surgery after she had lost feeling from the waist down.

"I had what was called Cauda Equina Syndrome," she sai.  

The diagnosis left Richardson with permanent nerve damage. 

Over time, other health challenges popped up. 

"I have Parkinsonism and osteoporosis. So, all of these combined has just caused the nerves and the bines and everything just to become brittle," Richardson said.

Despite the countless medical scares, Richardson is thankful she found her husband, who stuck by her side and said helps her as much as he can, although she prefers to do things on her own. 

"I got used to finding ways if I, you know, dropped something on the ground, I found ways to get it in my – and my back was hurting, but I found ways to do it one way or another," Richardson said.

That all changed after doctors introduced Richardson to the idea of having a service dog. 

Richardson wound up finding the will to open her own bakery business and even start auditioning again. 

"I have actually done a few commercial auditions that included [Glamour]," Richardson said.

Canine Companions offers these dogs free of charge and helps those who need it the most.

"Not only is she helping me throughout the house physically, but emotionally [and] mentally," Richardson said.

It's a companionship Richardson has held dear to her heart and has advocated for.

On Sept. 14, the City of Austin and the State of Texas recognized September as Service Dog Awareness Month. 

"I felt the need to get these proclamations out there," Richardson said.

A word she will keep spreading alongside her canine companions and Glamour.

Kelsey Sanchez on social media: Facebook | X

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