DALLAS — Dixie Rose, a Chihuahua who’s no bigger than a minute, proves the old adage that good things come in small packages. And although Dixie Rose is tiny, she’s a designated service dog for her owner, 41-year-old Cyndi Healey.
Healey was at the Great American Trucking Show here at the end of August soaking up the atmosphere because her dad, John Leasman, is a retired trucker and has been in trucking “pretty much all my life,” said Healey.
She said she had only been diagnosed two years ago with “minor autism” and is prone to panic attacks that can be debilitating. The Chihuahua has been trained to lick her face to get her to focus on her pet when one of the attacks comes on.
Dixie Rose can go into a restaurant with her mistress and will stay at Healey’s feet, not bark or beg for food.
Getting her to not beg for food was easy; the not barking part was harder, noted Healey.
The licking her face part was no big deal. “She just knows to lick my face; she just automatically does it,” Healey said.
She’s known she had a disability all her life but after being diagnosed with autism a friend with cerebral palsy suggested she apply for a service dog so Healey got her doctor to write a letter to and she received her diminutive friend a little over a year ago.
“She knows when she’s working and when she’s not working,” said Healey, adding that “I get these attacks real easy.”
When Dixie Rose isn’t on the job the Chihuahua likes to play like any other dog. Her favorite toy? A little Aflac duck named for the supplemental insurance mascot.
Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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