Amputee Center and Therapy Dog Keating help local community in more ways than one

This week’s This is Home feature
WTAP News @ 6
Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 4:04 PM EST
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Rob Miser lost his leg two years ago. Miser and others in his position say resources and community are some of the first things they look for.

Miser explained the confusion some might face after an amputation.

“There’s lots of questions that you have that you don’t realize you’re going to have and people who don’t have an amputation just don’t know so it’s great for that. To be able to come and ask them questions and not feel self-conscious about it and to learn how to get along in the world. That’s what the best thing is.”

Around 2020 Nancy Miller was opening The Amputee Center, a nonprofit aimed at helping amputees.

Nancy’s husband, Mark Miller is on Amputee Center Board. Mark said that when they started, they didn’t know where the center was going to go in the future.

“When we started this we said we don’t know where we’re going, it’s just where everything leads us.”

Mark says one of the goals of the Amputee Center is to try to and get amputees together more.

“... seeing what other amputees are able to do and trying to push the envelope as far as what’s considered the norm and trying to get them to do things that they might not think of otherwise.”

Dorie Moore and Marlie Jouver use services at The Amputee Center.

Both say the center means a lot to them.

“It’s basically helped me get out of my comfort zone. I used to be a hermit crab… at least that’s what my mother called me,” said Marley.

“Oh, this place means the world to me, it does. The friends I have made. The things I have been able to accomplish. I was part of the thriller flash mob this year. I did not think that was possible and I lived through it. I was the first amputee to do it,” said Dorie.

One of the ways the group pushes the envelope is through fitness classes like aerial silks and bungees.

Dorie Moore and Marley Jouver work on bungees at the Parkersburg Center
Dorie Moore and Marley Jouver work on bungees at the Parkersburg Center(Alexa Griffey)

“To see them in the fitness classes and flying around on the bungees is pretty awesome,” said Amy Sillers.

Dorie Moore practices aerial silks at the Center in Parkersburg
Dorie Moore practices aerial silks at the Center in Parkersburg(Alexa Griffey)

It’s not just physical growth and support that’s offered at the center.

Amy Sillers is on the emotional support committee and says emotional support is important.

“... so we see not just the physical side of it, but also the emotional part- the trauma that sometimes goes along with something like an amputation.”

Keating is an 8-year-old support dog born without his front paw.

The Millers adopted Keating when he was 10 weeks old to make prosthetics for him as he grew up.

Now, he’s a certified emotional support dog for people at the center and in hospitals.

Keating is an 8-year-old emotional support dog helping people at the center and in the community
Keating is an 8-year-old emotional support dog helping people at the center and in the community(Alexa Griffey)

“Everybody identifies with the dog. They just help ease them into the new role... And they basically look at Keating and say well if he can do it I can do it,” explained Mark Miller.

Miser said Keating is very laid back,

“... he’ll let anyone pet him. You kinda see what Keating deals with and you’re like, ‘I’m going through the same thing as he is!’ we definitely have a common bond there.”

Keating isn’t officially a part of the emotional support group, but Mark says he adds emotional support for people.

“ can see their faces light up, and like I said, embrace him. Him as an amputee and a dog and just emotionally they’re….. It’s definitely emotionally beneficial to them,” said Mark.

Amy Sillers says the center and everything in it offers more than just therapy.

“It’s bringing back into their life hope for a lot of people and it’s just a wonderful thing to see.”

That can be seen in Marley Jouver.

“I’ve found somewhere that I can come and be myself instead of putting up a show for people that I don’t really know or my family, so they don’t feel bad. So I kinda just started to be myself a lot more and my personality kind of changed over time.”

Nancy and Her husband Mark Miller own and operate Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics in Parkersburg.

There are many services available to everyone in the community at The Amputee Center.