Jaebin is a warm wonderful man who tries really hard to enjoy and embrace life. Due to hereditary factors 38-year old Jaebin has had hearing loss in both ears since the age of 18. He is also starting to show symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and often needs a walker to remain steady.
It used to be hard for Jaebin to get up and get on with his day. This is because his hearing loss and Parkinson’s disease symptoms caused him anxiety and depression. Since getting an assistance dog however Jaebin is now able to step outside his door and explore his world, and in particular the gym.
Life changed for the better when Jaebin got his assistance dog Teasha, or T as she is more commonly known. The dog, a cross between a Rottweiler and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, goes with Jaebin everywhere. She is most helpful as a support when Jaebin is at the gym. Importantly she has helped Jaebin gain confidence and to socialise in the community.
Jaebin has become so attached to her that he even has a tattoo of her on his bicep. Jaebin says he loves the tactile experience of patting his dog. And as other people pat T, especially in the gym, he feels a much greater connection with them.
Meeting Teasha came about through a chance meeting with a busker who was promoting Assisting, Wellbeing, Ability, Recovery and Empowerment (AWARE) Dogs Australia in Melbourne’s city centre. The not-for-profit organisation provides assistance dogs for people who are ill or have a disability. The busker noticed Jaebin’s disability and recommended that he look into getting an assistance dog. When T and Jaebin met they bonded straightaway. T had undergone some assistance dog training before she came to Jaebin, however Jaebin also trained her a little too.
The best friend and the workout
On the whole Jaebin finds the gym exciting. The main goal he has with his trainer Danielle is to improve his level of coordination and balance. Since starting the gym Jaebin and his trainer can see a noticeable improvement in his posture.
Throughout his workout Jaebin gets great moral support from T who faithfully guides him along from one piece of gym equipment to another. T then sits beside him; first on the leg press and then finally on the chest press. As Jaebin does the exercises he shows great effort and dedication and says he feels a mental and physical improvement each time he visits the gym.
At the end of his workout Jaebin says he now feels a lot better and is ready to go back into the outside world. Jaebin has really excelled himself in the gym and even gets a round of applause by the staff and a hug by Danielle. Meanwhile Teasha is next to Jaebin, as always encouraging him to go the full distance.