Jeanie Waters and Service Dog McGrew have been a great team for eight years, thanks in large part to your support.
Now they are in the stratosphere: they were considered essential workers at CVS during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic crisis – and they never missed a single day of reporting to duty, whether it was for 6 or 13 days in a row.
Jeanie has had Muscular Dystrophy from birth and was injured working as an auto mechanic which left her with a partial loss of use of both arms and legs. McGrew, Jeanie’s second ECAD Service Dog, helps her in and out of her wheelchair, pulls the wheelchair when needed, and helps Jeanie make her way on crutches up the stairs to where they live.
He also makes her laugh. McGrew was considered a big, silly puppy with paws that flew out to the side when they met at ECAD. “Lu thought he was the perfect dog for me, and he was. I don’t know how she does it,” Jeanie said.
While Jeanie was on duty as an essential worker these past months, McGrew’s personality made many people smile. Jeanie shared how welcomed this was.
Jeanie has been working at the CVS pharmacy in her Rockville Center, LI, neighborhood for nearly nine years.
“I’m what they call a ‘front of the store cashier,’ so I help people when they can’t manage the automatic check out machines,” Jeanie explained. “Whew, it was a time to work hard as people were piling things into their shopping carts and getting confused at checkout.”
It was a difficult time. Jeanie’s CVS is also right around the corner from a hospital. It was not uncommon to see the refrigerated trucks lined up at night with bodies of COVID-19’s victims.
“The hospital’s front line staff would come into our store after working 16-hour shifts and they would be so low, you could just see the worry lines in their faces,” Jeanie shared. She wanted to provide a way to encourage these essential workers. “So I told McGrew he could be a Therapy Dog - to say ‘hi’ - and then he knew it was okay for them to pet him. The faces of the doctors and nurses would relax and you could feel some of the tension leave their bodies.”
Jeanie’s tenacity comes as no surprise to those who know her – after all, she was a member of the US Disabled Sports team from 1987 through 1999 and has several medals in the sport of wheelchair racing.
Although she retired from the sport a few years ago, she and McGrew still face the challenges of the everyday world with spirit, determination, and humor. Way to go, you two!