In a heartwarming tale of companionship and resilience, a remarkable dog is transforming the life of her owner. “Our Lives: My Life Saving Dog,” a captivating documentary, will be aired on BBC1 this Friday, July 21, at 7:30 pm. The program chronicles the inspiring journey of Mei, a 20-year-old care leaver from Norwich, and her beloved Golden Retriever, Koda, whose presence has brought newfound independence and stability to Mei’s life.
Mei has battled with depression and anxiety, resulting in multiple hospitalisations over the years. However, since the arrival of Koda, Mei has been able to live independently, remaining hospital-free for an impressive two years. Assistance dogs like Koda are specially trained to provide support in various ways, ranging from detecting epileptic seizures to alleviating anxiety attacks.
During her turbulent teenage years, Mei spent most of her time in foster care, grappling with an eating disorder, self-harm, and overwhelming anxiety that left her unable to venture beyond the safety of her own home. But everything changed when Koda, a gorgeous and affectionate Golden Retriever with a penchant for toys and treats, came into her life. Together, they embarked on a journey to conquer Mei’s fears and embrace the world outside.
Although Mei still faces her own anxieties while adjusting to her newfound freedom, she is determined to raise awareness about the invaluable role of assistance dogs. Mei hopes that viewers will join her and Koda on their remarkable journey, which includes preparing for the daunting Public Access Test (PAT). The test aims to equip Mei with the tools to manage her panic attacks in situations she had previously avoided her entire life.
The formidable duo will face a series of challenging tests in the bustling centre of Birmingham. However, two-year-old Koda still has much to learn, occasionally displaying a penchant for falling asleep on the job. Will they conquer the test together and triumph over adversity?
“She is not perfect, neither am I, and together this is going to be our biggest challenge yet”, states Mei.
Mei has been chosen by hundreds of care leavers to take part in a special panel set up by Children’s Commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza. But it means making her first independent trip to London. Thanks to Koda she is able to make the trip without panic attacks.
As Mei explains, ”I don’t know whether there are enough words to be able to tell her how much she means to me and how much she has helped my life. She’s literally my world and I don’t think I could live without her”.
The documentary is produced by Norwich based Eye Film.