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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canine Companions For Independence - Lance's Story


Lance was in his early twenties when a diving accident left him paralyzed. He went from being an active and athletic Marine Corps Reservist to being trapped in bed. He remembers when a fly landed on his nose, and he couldn’t even move his arm to shoo it away. It was one of the lowest points of his life. He decided he had no choice but to stop feeling sorry for himself and do whatever he could to live life fully.

A few years later, Lance took a major stride forward in his emotional recovery when he was matched with a Service Dog from Canine Companions for Independence. Satine, a black Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, helped Lance more than he could have imagined. “Satine changed my life,” Lance explains. “She gave me responsibility, independence and the confidence to go out there and try things I didn’t think I could do.” When a staff position opened at Canine Companions, Lance moved out of his family home in Arkansas to Southern California to live on his own and support the organization that returned his independence.

Lance & Auggie
Today, Lance is a proud Canine Companions Southwest Regional board member after serving as a staff member for three years. Satine is now retired and living with a loving family and, earlier this year, Lance received a successor Service Dog named August II. “Auggie is a totally different dog, but I couldn’t ask for a better match!” Lance says. In addition to helping with everyday tasks like retrieving Lance’s keys or phone if he drops them and opening doors, Auggie just makes life fun! He plays fetch for as long as Lance throws the ball and he is always ready for a walk. Plus, when they’re out in public, he makes Lance more approachable because Auggie is the attention grabber rather than Lance’s wheelchair.

“Canine Companions is extremely important in my life,” says Lance. “I’m happy to be an example of how much independence a Service Dog can bring to someone with a disability. Canine Companions is a wonderful organization, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Lance and Auggie, like all Canine Companions graduate teams, completed an intense, residential, two-week Team Training course together at one of Canine Companions’ regional training facilities. During Team Training, students are strategically matched with assistance dogs and learn how to work with them safely and effectively. The dogs are trained for two years prior in up to 50 commands before they are ready to become someone’s 24/7 helper. Thanks to Canine Companions’ generous supporters, the dogs, their training and ongoing follow-up support are provided free of charge.

If you would like to get involved with Canine Companions, visit http://www.cci.org/ or call 800-572-BARK.

13 comments:

Bailey said...

The Caninie Service programs are such amazing work for all involved. The people who get the animals and the people who train and get the animals ready for service. What a great story to share.

Magic said...

What a great organisation - it's so good to see more organisations using the wonderful support dogs can bring to people's lives when they are living with all kinds of diability - practical and emotional. Great story!

Mariodacat said...

What a fantastic, heart-warming story. Love those service dogs and the very important work they do.

Finn said...

What a great story. THank you and thank you Lance for sharing!

Hound Girl said...

awww that tugged on ym heart strings. what a beautiful story.

Lola said...

A beautiful story!

meowmeowmans said...

What a great story. Thank you for sharing about Lance and Satine!

Kitcaboodles said...

What an inspirational story - so great to see the positive effect Canine Companions had on Lance and how he is now paying it forward to others.

Two French Bulldogs said...

What a great program. What a special guy!
Benny & Lily

bichonpawz said...

Auggie is a very special dog for a very special guy! What great work those organizations do. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story!!
xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

rumpydog said...

Hooray for Canine Companions!

The Doggie House said...

That Labrador is so Pretty :)

Terri Kaplan said...

This is a great story and really showcases what the human/dog partnership is all about!

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