“A whole lot of happiness, a whole lot of love and a whole lot of independence!” This is what Pamela’s service dogs from Canine Companions for Independence have meant to her.
Pamela, of Ventura, has a spinal cord injury. She has relied on a service dog’s help with everyday tasks since 2002. In May of this year, Pamela was partnered with Service Dog Neci II, a sweet, yellow Labrador/Golden Retriever cross. Neci is following in the footsteps of Service Dog Kiana, who spent about a decade by Pamela’s side.
“I did think twice about reapplying for a service dog,” Pamela recalls. “Losing Kiana was a huge void!” However, Pamela could not deny the benefits she experienced from having Kiana’s assistance. She ultimately decided to take the leap and allow herself to fall in love again.
“Without a service dog, I have to wait for people to assist me,” Pamela explains. “Now, I don’t have to ask people for help.”
Neci is trained in about 40 commands. She helps Pamela by retrieving dropped and out of reach objects, opening and closing doors and drawers, activating light switches and more. “Neci takes her job seriously,” says Pamela. “She really enjoys working!”
On top of that, Neci is an unconditionally loving, devoted friend. “What’s nice about Neci is that she likes to have that physical contact,” says Pamela. “She just enjoys being next to me! She’s a great companion.”
Pamela and Neci graduated together after completing an intense, residential, two-week Team Training course at Canine Companions’ Southwest Regional Center in Oceanside. During Team Training, students are strategically matched with assistance dogs and learn how to work with them safely and effectively. Thanks to Canine Companions’ generous supporters, the dogs, their training and ongoing follow-up support are provided free of charge.