Harlow The Golden Documents The Life of a Service Dog For Invisible Illness

She trains at the most magical place on earth – Disney World!

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow


Meet Harlow the Golden and her human Jaquie. Harlow is Jaquie’s service dog and helps her when she’s in need! Jaquie and Harlow use their Instagram accounts to raise awareness about invisible disabilities. At first glance, Jaquie seems just like any healthy young adult, but in reality she battles various chronic illnesses that are not physically obvious. Jaquie met Harlow at 8 weeks old, and has trained her to watch out for signs of weakness and to know when to alert others for help.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

Jaquie is only 20 years old, but has trained Harlow since she was a puppy to be an amazing med alert and mobility service dog. One of the basic skills Harlow had to learn at the very beginning is “Watch me!” Harlow has to have eyes on Jaquie at all times to make sure everything’s okay. A job she takes very seriously.helper_dog_harlow7

Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow


Jaquie has battles several chronic illnesses – autism, asthma, allergies, anaphylaxis, narcolepsy, pain, migraines, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Dysautonomia, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Gastroparesis, and Immonodeficiency. Jaquie and Harlow have to be wary about things that most people don’t give a second thought to, like the air we breathe, the weather, and even just staying conscious.


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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

But as a service dog in training, Harlow learns how to watch Jaquie to make sure that she is okay and provide support. She alerts her when she has rashes forming, sits on her lap as a furry heating pad for her chronic pain, and watches out for narcoleptic episodes.

One of their favorite places to train Harlow is at Disney World!

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow


Focusing on Jaquie within the busy and loud atmosphere of Disney World is a challenge that Harlow had to conquer. She cannot get distracted because Jaquie is her number one priority and requires her absolute focus. She practices self-restraint from chasing other dogs, eating food off the ground, and investigating strange noises.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

Another skill Harlow has been practicing since she was a puppy was “Under”. She stays under Jaquie and keeps an eye on her without breaking contact. She also knows how to wait and stay still until Jaquie calls her back. She stays where she is until Jaquie gives her release word.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

But even though Harlow is on the job at Disney World, it doesn’t mean that she can’t pose in front of the castle for a good picture!

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

They go all the time and wear matching outfits and take photos with all the characters and the castles. While Jaquie uses Disney as a training venue, she can also take in all the magic of the park.

Harlow is a good girl everywhere she goes and it helps the strong bond she has with Jaquie.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

 

Harlow even went with Jaquie to a convention where Jaquie and her friends dressed up as the characters from Bob’s Burgers. She was being a good girl and keeping an eye on her human. Apparently she only had a problem with a strange R2D2 noise, but with some refocusing, she was able to ignore it!

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

Even when there’s fish surrounding Harlow at the aquarium, she still keeps her eye on Jaquie. As you can see, her leash is hands free so she also knows how to walk alongside Jaquie instead of in front of her!

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

 

Who said working was lame? Harlow gets to explore Animal Kingdom AND get dressed up as Eeyore!

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

Especially since Jaquie and Harlow are best friends, it makes Harlow’s job not feel like work.

But there are ups and downs when you’re a med alert dog for a human with chronic illnesses.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

Jaquie has to be hospitalized sometimes due to her conditions. This time, she had an allergic reaction and had to stay for a few days. Harlow never left her side and went from med alert to comfort dog!

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

But whenever there’s a cloud, there’s always a “golden” lining. Jaquie’s boyfriend came back from his military leave and joined the pair on their adventures.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

When Jaquie is out and about, she has to take a lot of breaks to rest and recuperate. She wears a mask to filter the air she breathes. Harlow sits by her side and makes sure she has support.

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Credit: Instagram / @helper_dog_harlow

But these two know that even though they might get some looks for sitting on store floors, that it’s not a big deal. Jaquie and Harlow know what Jaquie needs to stay well! And remember that #NotAllDisabilitiesAreVisible

Harlow is such a good girl! Follow her on Instagram @helper_dog_harlow!