Preserving independence: Canine program helps Cape woman
with cerebral palsy|
By Chris Pagano
"Gina Ventucci, a psycho-social rehabilitation
worker who runs a support group for the disabled at Someone's Treasure on
Broadway, has had cerebral palsy since her premature birth. She was diagnosed
with a form of muscular dystrophy when she was in college. When the two flare
up, it's a nightmare. But help from a service dog is like having working arms
and legs for Ventucci.
Trouble controlling and coordinating muscles makes simple movements difficult.
Service dogs that are trained to open doors, pick up items, turn lights on and
off, pull her manual wheelchair, help her change positions in bed and many other
tasks, have allowed Ventucci to remain independent since she was a young woman.
Her first service dog, Valentine, even accompanied her at graduation, receiving
her diploma from the dean."