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Tell City resident Jennifer Paris patiently waited for her name to be called graduation day Nov. 9. However, she was not waiting to receive a diploma or degree. Jennifer was waiting to officially be paired with her new partner, service dog Pike.
Jennifer received Pike through Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Graduation day marked the end of an intense two-week team training session during which Jennifer was paired with Pike and spent time learning to work with and care for him.
Canine Companions’ assistance dogs master more than 40 commands to assist with daily tasks, such as retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors, pulling manual wheelchairs and turning on and off light switches. Service Dog Pike allows Jennifer to live independently and focus on things other than her disability.
“When I am with my service dog, I am the actor, Pike is the leading man and my disability is the chorus,” Jennifer shared.
Established in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit provider of trained assistance dogs for children, adults and veterans with physical disabilities. There is no charge for the dogs, their training and ongoing follow-up services. For more information about the organization, visit cci.org.