SANTA ROSA, Calif., Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Army Captain Alli LaCombe was just two weeks away from coming home from her second deployment in Iraq when her life changed in an instant. Her unit was in the countryside preparing a space for incoming American troops when insurgents broke through the perimeter of the site and a firefight broke out. Responding to the commotion, LaCombe stepped outside her tent. She turned to retrieve her protective gear when a rifle round smashed into her spine, leaving her permanently paralyzed with incomplete quadriplegia.
LaCombe turned to Canine Companions to help regain her lost independence. She was matched with Canine Companions Service Dog Erik, trained in 45 commands to empower LaCombe to live more autonomously. Erik, a yellow Lab/Golden Retriever, helps at home and in public, retrieving dropped items, pulling her manual wheelchair and turning on lights.
"He gives me more confidence and independence," said LaCombe. "Now, I don't have to rely on other people. I really knew what a difference Erik was going to make in my life was when he first opened a door for me."
Canine Companions provides expertly trained service dogs like Erik and a lifetime of ongoing follow-up services entirely free of charge for clients. In recognition of Veterans Day, Canine Companions has a $50,000 dollar-for-dollar match that will help place more task-trained service dogs like Erik with veterans with physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"He has awed me to tears," LaCombe says of Service Dog Erik.
Canine Companions is committed to helping our heroes ? better. Learn more about Canine Companions, apply for a service dog or make a donation by visiting canine.org/help.
SOURCE Canine Companions for Independence