Since the day she was born, Dr. Alette Coble-Temple’s life has been propelled by her breathtaking ability to overcome. Born with just a 10% chance of survival, Dr. Coble-Temple is now one of the foremost advocates for people with disabilities nationwide. She is constantly on the go traveling, speaking, and serving her community, and she gets by with a little help from her furry friend, Reddy.
Wendy: What role does a service dog like Reddy play in your daily life?
Alette: Reddy provides me with a variety of mobility assistance tasks. He’ll pick things up for me, carry things in his bag, and support my body to do independent transfers from my wheelchair to other furniture (i.e. bed, couch). Reddy also serves as a social facilitator. He shifts the energy when I am conducting forensic evaluations on inmates.
W: Reddy’s a pretty unique name. How did the name come to be?
A: Reddy is a Canine Companion for Independence dog. The way they name their dogs is by designating each litter to a letter of the alphabet. Reddy came from an “R” litter! As to how he got the actual name Reddy, one of the ways this organization raises money is by allowing people to donate money and be able to name the puppies. In his case, a family with the last name Reddy made a large contribution to the organization, and he was named for them!
W: How does he help you on a day to day basis? Elaborate!
A: It’s so difficult to put into words everything that Reddy does for me on a daily basis. He is my 3rd service dog, which means that I have had a working dog by my side for more than half of my life. I feel naked, absolutely bare if I don’t have a leash around my wrist! For me, having a service dog means increased independence, added confidence in my ability to conduct forensic evaluations in the California state prisons, and expanded social interaction. I meet so many marvelous people due to having a service dog. Case in point, I met you!
W: Describe the feeling of winning Ms Wheelchair America 2016. Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS!
A: Overwhelmingly exciting! I definitely was shocked to win, and at the same time I felt an overwhelming responsibility to represent the 54 million people that live with disabilities in the United States. I am truly devoted to advocating at the local, state, and national levels to expand awareness, inclusion, and civil rights. To date, I have traveled to 29 states and over 110,000 cities.
W: What’s the funniest or wildest thing Reddy has ever done on your travels?
A: The funniest thing Reddy has done was catch a fish straight out of the ocean in Hawaii in front of tourists! He ate it while I was swimming, and everyone was screaming! It was quite the ordeal, and I don’t think anyone who witnessed it will forget about it any time soon.
W: I definitely wouldn’t! When you’re not in Hawaii trying to keep Reddy from scaring more tourists, what do you do for a living?
A: I am a licensed clinical psychologist who works as full professor at John F. Kennedy University and as a forensic evaluator for the Department of State Hospitals.
W: What is your favorite charity? Why?
A: My favorite charity is Canine Companions for Independence. They improve the lives of people with disabilities immensely every day by helping to facilitate independence and community inclusion. They recognize that people with disabilities are able to live successfully with the right tools: All Canine Companions for Independence are free of charge to the recipients, and each dog costs $25,000 to train.
For all the information about Reddy, Dr. Coble-Temple, and their favorite charities, visit:
Dr. Coble-Temple’s website: www.mwa2016.com
Canine Companions for Indpendence Home Page: www.cci.org
Reddy’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Reddy-the-CCI-Dog-1048790058491155/?fref=ts