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Four times a year, a group of people and a group of dogs come together for a very special purpose: to make a match between a Canine Companions for Independence assistance dog and the person whose life they are about to change. This May was no different.
Meet Albie the service dog
On May 11, Plano resident Linda Lipscomb graduated from Canine Companions for Independence in Irving with Service Dog Albie. Albie, a yellow Labrador/ Golden retriever cross, is trained in over 40 commands to assist Linda and enhance her independence.
Linda, active in therapeutic horsemanship and her church choir, is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This causes muscle fatigue and affects her balance. Now, she has Albie by her side to help with daily tasks. Linda has had several falls in the last year due to trying to retrieve items that she dropped.
Now, Albie can retrieve these items and deliver them to her. He can also tug open doors, help with laundry, get things out of the refrigerator and much more, allowing Linda to conserve her energy and decrease her fatigue level.
“My life has been greatly improved since Albie and I came home,” said Linda. “He not only helps me with many tasks but has also encouraged people to talk to me more.”
Linda says having a service dog by her side out in public breaks down some of the barriers that a disability sometimes brings. “Now I’m very popular!” she says.
Service Dog Albie, along with his fellow assistance dogs, went through two years of training before he was specially matched with Linda free of charge. Now, he will provide enhanced independence as he joins Linda out and about in the Plano community.
For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, visit cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.