Erin Condrin of Queensland Australia wants people to know one thing: "disabilities don’t stop for special occasions." On one of the most special nights of her life---her senior prom!---Condrin broke out all the stops.
She got a custom-made dress she could wear in her wheelchair, rented a ramp, planned her medications accordingly, visited the salon, and did it all with her service dog Lacey by her side. Condrin has Classical Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
, which affects the connective tissues and makes it easy to dislocate joints. It can make even simple tasks, like tying your shoes, quite difficult to accomplish.
For Condrin, the disorder also causes chemical allergies and issues eating food.
She tells BuzzFeed
Thanks to Lacey, I am so much more independent. If I drop something, I can ask Lacey to pick it up, instead of waiting for someone to come over and help me. She helps me open and close doors, meaning I can use accessible bathrooms independently. I can now change clothes and carry bags more easily, and she even helps me with wheelchair transfers by placing my footplate in the correct position.
So it makes sense that Lacey would be involved in one of the best parts of prom---getting ready! The pup accompanied Condrin to the salon, where she "brought a smile to everyone’s faces,” she says. “The ladies at the hairdresser’s took lots of photos and kept giggling whenever they looked over at her.”
Lacey is quite the looker, if we do say so ourselves. The woman who created Condrin's gorgeous dress also fashioned a sparkly skirt for Lacey out of the extra material.
Because the pair have only been together since mid-2015, courtesy of Canine Helpers Australia
, Condrin thought it best to let Lacey sit out for the actual dance.
I didn’t feel ready to take her to an event with a massive crowd and so many flashing lights. I can’t wait to take her to formal events in the future, though.
That's okay, because Lacey secretly has four left feet and wouldn't want to embarrass anyone in front of her human. Besides, a whole day of preparing for prom night takes a lot out of a girl! Without her right-hand pup, Condrin still had a great time with her friends and amazing support system.
“Everyone at school is asking me for more photos of Lacey’s dress,” she says, though her date reportedly “enjoyed and was mortified” by the canine's getup. (She looked BEAUTIFUL, sir!)
While Lacey is a huge part of Condrin's life and helps her to do so many things physically, she says:
Emotionally, too, she has made such a positive impact. During hospital stays and rest periods at home, I know I always have someone by my side. Being a young disabled person can be daunting, but facing the world with an adorable fluffball by my side makes it so much easier.
Nothing will stand in this brave young girl's way with or without the wonderful Lacey, but she sure makes life a little more fun. We absolutely loved seeing your prom pictures, Erin! And we know you'll definitely love looking back at them for years to come.
Canine Helpers Australia relies purely on donations, and always welcome contributions to provide another deserving person with the perfect dog.
h/t BuzzFeed, featured image via BuzzFeed + Erin Condrin/Facebook