“I knew I wanted an assistance dog,” explains Jeanette, a four-time graduate of Canine Companions for Independence. “I watched as my sister and brother deteriorated and passed away. As I lost the ability to do many things, I could anticipate what tasks an assistance dog could help me with to stay independent for as long as possible.”jeanette__thelma_pic_2 Jeanette comes from a big family. Like two of her siblings, Jeanette has spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy that causes muscles to deteriorate. “When I was younger I could walk, but I’ve gradually lost my strength.” Jeanette’s current service dog, Thelma III, was expertly trained to help make everyday life easier. Thelma pulls the covers on and off, opens doors, turns lights on and off, picks up dropped items and carries Jeanette’s briefcase. She can even open the refrigerator and gets items out to put on the counter where Jeanette can reach them. “She gets so happy when she completes a task,” says Jeanette. “She is so receptive to my needs and wants to please me no matter what.”

“My sister and her family were so inspired by Canine Companions and how my dogs have helped me that they became volunteer puppy raisers,” says Jeanette. “My niece Marie recently finished raising her third puppy! I am so thankful to the volunteers who put their hearts and souls into raising these dogs. I can’t thank them enough. I’m so grateful for all that they do.”
jeanette__thelmaJeanette received her first service dog, Croy, in 1989 and Jeanette’s second dog, Jolly worked with her for 10 years. “Jolly was such an incredible dog,” remembers Jeanette. “One day my power lift broke while I was in the shower. Jolly got my phone and brought it to me so I could call for help. Then she let the person in, so they didn’t have to break a window to get in the house. If it wasn’t for my dog, I would have been stuck there all day and surely would have ended up in the hospital. Canine Companions dogs really save lives in many ways!”

To learn more about our assistance dogs, click here.

Click here to learn about becoming a puppy raiser.

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