She can put away laundry, grab a water bottle from the fridge, close the dishwasher — oh, and did we mention that she’s a dog?
Instagram users have been watching the energetic Golden Retriever named Harlow grow into a certified service dog for the past 15 months.
And each day, she becomes more skilled.
The dog’s 20-year-old owner, Jaquie Blake, suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) — a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, which can cause migraines, narcolepsy, dizziness and frequent fainting spells.
My girl had a gastric emptying study today! For a thorough report of this morning's happenings, find my girl @Chronically_Jaquie. 🙆 Her daily symptoms of nausea, heartburn, stomach pains and not being able to eat much of anything have lead her GI specialist to believe she may have gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying). 🤔 This test will help determine if this is the cause of her symptoms as it shows how quickly food moves through her stomach. 👍 Unfortunately my girl had an extremely hard time keeping down the mandatory breakfast, making her horribly nauseous the rest of the day. But 5 X-rays and 4 hours later, we got to go home! 🏡 Because we were there so long, my girl removed my vest to make me more comfortable (it's true, service dogs do NOT have to be vested 🐕). Even though I wasn't in gear I still behaved impeccably well, quietly holding my down stay the entire time (and napping 😪) while watching Disney movies with my hoomans. 🎬 Now it's time for my girl to rest up and hopefully feel better. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! ❤ 13 Months #goodgirl #gastroparesis #GI #hospital #servicedogintraining #servicedog #workingdog #dogtraining #servicedogsofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #cute #goldenretriever #puppy #instapuppy #retrieversgram #gloriousgoldens #invisibleillness #chronicillness #spoonie #disability #epilepsy #narcolepsy #asthma #migraine #orthostaticintolerance #ehlersdanlos #fatigue #chronicpain #instagood
Luckily, the Florida resident has Harlow by her side.
The retriever is training to be a medical alert and mobility service dog. She notifies her owner when she senses something bad is about to happen and assists Blake with her physical limitations.
“Without her, I would be very limited in what I could do with my life,” Blake explained to CBS News. “Leaving the house by myself would be out of the question, let alone pursing a college education and eventually my dream career (occupational therapist).”
About a year ago, Blake started an Instagram account to track her service dog’s progress.
Today, that account has more than 70,000 followers — and that number continues to climb.
Blake attributes it to her pup’s progress over the year.
The dog knows how to get her leash, house keys and pick up virtually anything Blake drops.
Puppies such as myself are especially explorative with our sniffers and because of this, grocery store training can be of particular difficulty. 😬 Just imagine all the tasty aromas in the air as well as the food placed directly at nose level! 👃 Throughout my service dog training @Chronically_Jaquie has taught me how to maintain self-control when surrounded by the many tasty temptations. 🍎🍗 Before I required constant redirection, and now I'm finally able to retrieve certain food items for my girl – without eating them! 👏 Also notice that I'm ignoring the pork chops right beside me. 😏 Of course I still make mistakes every now and then as I'm only halfway through my training. 🐾 But so far, I'm doing a great job! And don't worry, I get plenty of "off-duty" time to use my sniffer however I please. 😉 14 Months #goodgirl #sniff #Publix #shopping #servicedogintraining #servicedog #workingdog #dogtraining #dogsofinstagram #cute #goldenretriever #puppy #instapuppy #puppylove #gloriousgoldens #invisibleillness #chronicillness #spoonie #disability #epilepsy #narcolepsy #asthma #migraine #dysautonomia #POTS #gastroparesis #ehlersdanlossyndrome #hypermobility #fatigue #chronicpain
Some of the most popular videos on Blake’s page — with hundreds of thousands of views — involve Harlow retrieving a water bottle from the fridge when her owner says, “Water bottle, I’m thirsty.”
“Everyone seems to love it,” Blake said. “She will go to the fridge, bring me a bottle of water, and then return to shut the fridge. This is important for when I am too dizzy or in too much pain to move, but I still need to take my medication.”
It’s important to remember that a service dog is not just for a wheelchair-bound person, Blake says.
Does anyone here do embroidery? This is my brand new Wiredog vest; my girl and I are in love! 😍 But we need the phrase "Do NOT separate me from my girl" embroidered directly on it (so, not on a patch). We have searched locally for embroideries, but they only take on bulk orders. 😕 If you think you can help, please comment below! 👇 Did y'all happen to notice the fabulous, pink patches? They were custom made by none other than @muttbuttgear! If you need custom patches (or other miscellaneous dog gear), you can't go wrong with this store! 💕 P.S. There was another playful puppy at the car wash (pets can come as long as they stay in the outside seating area) and I did a GREAT job of ignoring the other pooch! 💪 My girl says I'm doing well with ignoring other dogs for a pup my age. 11 Months #goodgirl #embroidery #fabulous #lookinggood #tasktrained #servicedogintraining #sdit #servicedog #workingdog #dogonduty #medicalalertdog #dogtraining #servicedogsofinstagram #respectthevest #dogsofinstagram #cute #goldenretriever #puppy #instagolden #instapuppy #invisibleillness #chronicillness #spoonie #spoonielife #epilepsy #narcolepsy #asthma #migraine #fatigue #pain
“These dogs can also help people who have invisible illnesses,” she explained. “For example, you cannot see my POTS unless, perhaps, I am unconscious on the floor.”
With Harlow’s increasing popularity, Blake is confident her dog is helping to spread that message.
“She has my back,” Blake said.