Mychaela Green is enjoying outdoor experiences she never thought possible thanks to the support of Dog AID UK and a Vita X.
Mychaela is a medically retired carer who used to love her job supporting older people in the community. With COPD and weakness on her right side, walking is extremely difficult, so she uses an electric wheelchair to remain mobile. Nevertheless, trying to use her wheelchair outdoors has not been positive with Mychaela experiencing discomfort, back ache and getting stuck several times – at one point having to be rescued by the fire service when it broke down.
“I couldn’t do what I wanted to do,” she said. “I massively missed going out with my grandkids, I missed the beach, the countryside, walking a dog, I just wanted to do normal things that able-bodied people do. So huge for mental health and wellbeing. Being stuck inside was awful.”
With ownership of a new puppy, Nova, Mychaela was desperate to get out in the countryside to train her dog with the support of Dog AID UK, a charity that helps people with physical disabilities to train their pet dogs for assistance with everyday tasks. She needed a product that could cope with muddy tracks and trails, especially when regularly visiting the coast.
“When I took on Nova, my black Labrador, the vet said she’d make a fantastic assistance dog however she would need proper training,” she said. “Dog AID agreed to help me and this is when a trustworthy scooter became vital.
“I first came across products that were so expensive I knew I would never be able to afford them. I also found out about the Disabled Ramblers association that I intend to join next year. I looked at what scooters their members used; I saw one that was not from TGA but I didn’t like the look of it. I then noticed the cool Vita X. I had a nosey around the TGA website and liked the fact they were a family-run business. I made contact and an assessor called Danny, who was brilliant by the way, came out to give me a test drive and assess my needs. He even spent time with me going for a walk in the woods! It was a complete revelation to me… what an eye opener. A stable ride and no bumps or bangs to hurt my bad back. I drove through mud and over rough ground with no problem, smooth and steady, it was a joy. I knew my life had suddenly changed for the better.”
Now, Nova is being trained to walk alongside Mychaela’s scooter with the help of a pole and bungee dog lead which is working well. “Nova is such a good girl and the places we are now going I simply cannot believe,” she says. “To sit on the beach after five years and look out to sea is breathtaking. Even feeling the wind in your hair is special. I now look at so many more places and say, ‘do you know what, I’m going to have a go at getting there’.
“Back in London, my scooter lets me go out in the woods with my family – even in the winter when its muddy. I purposely drive through puddles to see if my Vita can do it and it does. Having a box on my scooter to store dog stuff is also really handy especially when we are out shopping together. So many people have commented that my Vita looks nothing like a scooter and how bright the LED lights are – I’m going to decorate it with extra Christmas lights to cheer up passers-by.”
With the right scooter and the assurance from Nova, who has learnt to help her take off her socks and jumpers as well as pick things up from the floor, Mychaela is planning more adventures next year and beyond. “If someone asked me would I recommend the TGA Vita X I’d say, ‘Oh, God yes, absolutely,” she says. “It has literally changed my life like Nova – I wouldn’t be able to leave the house without both of them. Dog AID have also been amazing, so supportive and I’d encourage everyone to donate to them especially as things are so tough for charities right now.
“I’m planning to revisit the Lake District next year with my Vita and the support of the outbound activity charity Calvert Trust,” she concludes. “I used to love hill walking before my illnesses so when I went with this disability charity in my wheelchair to Northumbria, I had a great time but there were still places I couldn’t get to. Exploring and life in general will now be so much more rewarding with my Vita X and Nova.”