In July of 2013, Tucker Winfrey went for an ordinary swim at the beach. He dove into an ocean wave, but something went horribly wrong. Winfrey broke his neckand became a quadriplegic. His entire life changed because of his disability and things that used to be so simple were now anything but.
“Im finding ways to compensate and do daily tasks and then make them comfortable. Its a lot of adapting,” says Winfrey.
But Winfrey finally now has something that has given him a huge leap of independence: a service dog named Farrah. A Golden-Lab mix, Farrah was taken at 8 weeks old to be trained and socialized as a service dog through the program Canine Companions For Independence. This program personally matches a service dog with a person who would benefit from their specific traits.
Volunteers bring dogs home when they are 8 weeks old to begin training, then get cleared to go to individuals called Puppy Raisers. The Puppy Raisers are fully responsible for building a foundation for these dogs and to give them exposure to the several different environments that they may encounter when they are finally ready to meet their new owner. After an 18-month stay with their Puppy Raisers, the dogs are ready to graduate and meet their new owner.
Farrah’s Puppy Raiser, Abby Hannell, was happy to hear that Farrah was being paired up with Winfrey.
“Being able to train a dog that would impact somebodys life the way shes going to impact Tuckers lifeits just one of the greatest things I could think of even doing,” she says.
It’s obvious that Farrah is already making a big change in Winfrey’s life.
“I think its huge. I think that everyone with a disability should have the opportunitybecause they are amazing dogs,” Winfrey says. “The possibilities are endless with Farrah at my side.”
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