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Golden Opportunities for Independence
Service Dog Program

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Emma and 
Aurora

Emma, a 25 years old, suffering from severe anxiety and depression just needed to get her life back. She had tried conventional methods of therapy and medication, but still was missing something. Well Aurora to the rescue. Service dogs can be trained specifically to meet her needs and can give her the independence and freedom she so desperately wants. Having a service dog will break the figurative shackles attached to her everyday life. At GOFI, we work to empower clients to live independently, unencumbered by the challenges of daily living associated with medical disabilities. Aurora is a sweet, sensitive and very attentive little pup, providing Emma the lifeline she needed.
Service dog keeps Foxboro owner’s
 anxiety at bay
By Sun Chronicle Staff
FOXBORO -- Emma Carroll, 25, has been fighting depression and anxiety as long as she can remember, even including a failed suicide attempt.
But now Carroll, who has been diagnosed with a variety of anxiety disorders, is getting help in calming her moods and getting advance warnings of panic attacks from an unusual source — her golden retriever service dog Aurora.
The 61/2-month-old golden, provided by a Norwood-based service dog organization and funded partly by a $2,500 donation from the Partners In Patriotism Fund, is constantly at Carroll’s side and is trained to detect clues to her owner’s mood swings.
“She’s goes everywhere with me,” said Carroll who even takes Aurora on marketing trips. “She keeps me calm.”
Aurora is trained to detect clues to behavior changes, like her owner beginning to fidget or twirl her hair. Carroll said a nudge from Aurora could tip her off that it’s time to take her meds or to withdraw from a stressful situation.
Carroll’s newfound friend has only just begun her extensive training as a service dog, a process that will ultimately cost about $35,000. A GoFundMe page has been started to help with the cost.
The Foxboro resident’s multiple disorders and a debilitating injury two years ago have kept her from working or going to school.
“Since I was 16, I have always had a job,” Carroll said. “But after an injury in 2016 I couldn’t return to work and because of these illnesses, I haven’t been able to look for work. I have also had to take a leave of absence from school.”
While Carroll has been prescribed a number of medications to combat her ailments, she doesn’t see them as a complete solution. “I don’t want to have to rely on medications to live a normal life,” she said. “The bottom line is I want my life back.”
Carroll turned to Golden Opportunities for Independence, a nonprofit that trains and pairs service dogs with people suffering from disabilities.
The Foxboro woman said Aurora is a combination of a best friend and daily helper who gives her hope and keeps her moving forward.
“She has given me the strength and independence I have been so desperately in search of,” she said.