Hadley’s Angel Eva
By Zia Telfair
In the Fall of 2003, Dan Telfair flew six-year-old Hadley A. and her grandparents Pamela and Edward on an Angel Flight mission from Artesia to Albuquerque. Hadley, who was born with cerebral palsy, must make periodic trips for medical treatments. Dan was taken by this vivacious, determined little girl and it occurred to him that she would be an excellent candidate for Skilled Companion dog from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). It just happens that Dan’s wife Zia is a volunteer Puppy Raiser for CCI.
The next time that Dan flew the family to Albuquerque, Zia met them at the airport with Jacoby, the CCI pup that she was then raising. It was love at first cuddle between Jacoby and Hadley. On subsequent trips Zia and Jacoby met Hadley at the hospital, giving her more time to spend with this special pup. Knowing that Jacoby was at the end of the flight lessened Hadley’s anxiety about flying. Having him at the hospital took her attention away from the injections and other procedures that she dreaded. Pamela thought, “Wow, this is a good thing”, and she soon submitted an application for Hadley to get her own CCI dog.
That dream became a reality in early 2006 when Hadley was paired with Eva, a lovely, mellow black Labrador/Golden Retriever cross. Since then both Dan and Ed McCullough have had the pleasure of flying Hadley, Pamela, and Eva on Angel Flight missions. Before Eva’s first flight, Dan was concerned about the noise level of his Cessna 182, so he ordered a set of "Mutt Muffs" (a dog ear-protection headset). Each time that Eva has been on a flight, Dan has removed the right front seat of the airplane so that she could ride comfortably on the floor next to him. This has given new meaning to the expression “Dog is my Co-pilot”.
Pamela says that Eva is a wonderful motivator for Hadley to push herself during therapies. Hadley’s anxiety level about medical appointments has dropped and when she isn’t feeling well, having Eva by her side is a comfort. Hadley is happy to now be “the girl with the dog” rather than “the girl in the wheelchair”.
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