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’A Dog Named Slugger’ Gives Palsy Patient New Lease On Life

Originally Posted: April 14, 2011

"A Dog Named Slugger" in release. (Courtesy Photo: Blue Dot Literary)

Southampton - "I have cerebral palsy. I walk funny and my balance is bad. I fall a lot. My hands shake, too. That means I'm not so good at carrying things. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it's hard to just bend down and get it." I waited anxiously for the interviewer's response. She smiled. "It sounds like a service dog could be great for you."

So began Leigh Brill's journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador with "a coat like sunshine" and a tail that never stopped wagging became an instant team. Together, they transformed a challenge into a triumph, eventually inspiring and educating all whom they met.

Brill tells the heart-warming story of her life and lovable Yellow Lab in her best-selling memoir, "A Dog Named Slugger." The story begins near the end of Brill's college years, when her Cerebral Palsy symptoms worsened and, in desperation, she turned to service dogs; canines trained to aid people with disabilities. Leigh was instantly matched with big, lovable Slugger, who would not only pick up dropped pens and open heavy doors, but would pick up Brill's life and open her mind and heart, helping her to find peace, love and even a career.

The book is written in a fun, easy-to-read style, with Slugger himself leaving the most indelible mark as an unforgettable character. More than just a memoir, "A Dog Named Slugger" shines a light on the growing Service Dog movement, hopefully leading to more trainers, helper dogs and triumphant "Slugger stories" throughout the country and the world.

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