Ellsworth community provides Mariaville woman with new service dog

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:13 AM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A woman in Mariaville has a new service dog thanks in large part to the generosity of the greater Ellsworth Community.

“To have that support with me in my day to day at home, at work, out in the community, it’s been a life changer,” said Elli Shiva.

A survivor of multiple traumatic brain injuries stemming from assault and domestic abuse, Elli Shiva suffers from an array of neurological disabilities, and a service dog is vital in helping her with tasks in her day-to-day life.

“Helping me up when I fall, helping with vertigo. I often will get very disoriented as far as space is concerned, and so sometimes, I just like don’t know which way is up and which way is down, and so having a dog that I can brace against and who can orient me is been very helpful.”

Enter Coda, a pure-bred Siberian Husky from Kansas who arrived two days ago. Not only is he easy to lean on, he’s also being trained in nightmare support, flashback interaction, and behavioral interruption.

But service dogs aren’t cheap, and Elli isn’t Coda’s permanent owner, yet.

The adoption fee alone is 45-hundred dollars, and that doesn’t include Coda’s travel from Kansas or his training.

Elli is a budding artist, so to help pay for Coda’s adoption, she’s exchanging minimalistic ink or graphite pet portraits for 50 and 100 dollar donations.

“100% of the proceeds from all of my art sales go towards raising and training my service dog, and raising money for other Mainers to train their service dog as well.”

But it turns out there isn’t any real worry of Coda not being here for Elli to brace against because she already unknowingly had an entire community for that.

The gofundme she set up for Coda’s adoption fees has raised two thirds of the necessary funds in just over a month.

The service dog she met two days ago is here to stay, thanks to the generosity of people she’s never met at all.

“I’d say about 90% of the donations have been from people I don’t know, which has just been very heartwarming. I don’t have a huge support system around here. I don’t know many people in this area, and so, it’s been very uplifting and kind of overwhelming to know that other people out there care about my wellbeing and that they are willing to contribute even just a little bit has been really great.”

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