Service Dog Brings Newfound Independence

Life changed for Chelsey Price in 2010, when she contracted a bacterial infection after tubing on the Comal River, which led to a bilateral below-knee amputation. Then, it changed again when she received her service dog Pablo, free of charge, from Canine Companions for Independence.

“When I got home, I got really sick from a bacterial infection that went septic,” says Chelsey. “I lost blood flow in my limbs. My hands came back without significant damage, but my feet weren’t so lucky. Along with my amputations, I suffer from an anoxic brain injury which affects my stamina and coordination.” Chelsey uses prosthetics and a wheelchair, which presents a challenge in performing certain daily tasks. For Chelsey, being matched with Canine Companions Service Dog Pablo in November 2015 meant help with these daily tasks, but it also represented much more than that.

Chelsey began school at Texas Tech University after she applied for a Canine Companions assistance dog. Shortly after, some things changed and she left. But once she was matched with Pablo, she felt like she had exactly what she needed to finish her degree. “He was my motivation to go back and finish,” Chelsey says. “He gave me the confidence that I needed.” Since receiving Pablo, Chelsey has returned to college at Texas Tech, graduated with a degree in finance in December 2016, and landed a job at a large bank in West Texas.

Pablo was not left out of these celebrations, either. He was in Chelsey’s senior pictures, and even walked at graduation with her in his very own cap and gown. Today, he attends work with her, making asking for help a thing of the past. “Pablo helps me with literally everything,” says Chelsey. “He picks up anything I may drop, helps me straighten my bed, and brings in my groceries on a rolling cart, so now I am able to go grocery shopping independently.” And it doesn’t end there. “In the morning, he will bring my prosthetics from where I took them off so I can put them on, and if something drops under the car as I stand up (which happens a lot), he can fish it out,”

Chelsey explains. Chelsey says she would not be where she is today if it wasn’t for Pablo. More than anything, he has provided her with consistency and confidence. “Someone is always there to help me or just be there for me,” said Chelsey. “I don’t have to rely on people anymore.” If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog with Canine Companions for Independence, visit cci.org/apply.

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