Canine Companions helps woman regain independence

Canine Companions helps woman regain independence

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Canine Companions for Independence is a nonprofit providing highly trained assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities at no charge. After opening a facility in Texas two years ago, they are serving people across the state, including here in Lubbock. 

Kaitlyn Beckert got started by raising puppies for the visually impaired.

"Whenever I was in college at TCU, my roommate was blind and she was interested in getting a guide dog," Beckert said.

Since 2014, she has trained several dogs, but just recently started volunteering for Canine Companions. She is now raising a puppy named Yoyo. 

"As a puppy raiser we have the dogs until their about two years-old and during that time we teach them roughly thirty commands to prepare them for their professional training," Beckert said.

After professional training is complete, the dogs are paired up with an owner. For Chesley price, when she was matched with her dog, Pablo, she said her life was changed for the better.

"I love him and he has such a great, like different personality," Price said.

Pablo helps price with everyday activities like laundry, grocery shopping, or simply opening up doors.

"He helps with just my general confidence," Price said.

Price has not always been disabled.

"I went tubing on the Comal river, and caught a bacterial infection." Price said "I was actually in a coma for a few weeks." 

Doctors had to amputate both her feet, and she suffered traumatic brain injury. Price said through Pablo's help, she has regained a new joy for life.

"You just learn how to do things different." Price said "You can either take the opportunity to make yourself better or lay in your couch and feel sorry for yourself." 

He even gave her the confidence to finish her degree at Texas Tech and start a career with Plains Capital Bank. She said she is now completely independent.

Beckert said it is awarding knowing the dogs she raised are truly, changing lives.

"That's why I keep doing it because the process is so worth it in the end." Beckert said "I mean you get to see your dog blossom into the dog that it was always meant to be, and then you also get a new friend because you get to meet who your dog was matched up with."

If you are interested in becoming a puppy raiser for Canine Companions, you can visit their website for more information.

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