Stories of Independence

Jose & Jill

Veteran Jose Rivera first heard about Canine Companions while at physical therapy. As someone with a very active lifestyle, he knew a service dog would increase his independence. In 2020, he was matched with Service Dog Jill. Jose shares, “This is a life changing event for me, as this has helped not only my emotional state but also physically.” Canine Companions service dogs are matched with veterans free of charge. Expertly trained in over 40 commands, our dogs help veterans with disabilities by picking up dropped items, turning on and off lights, carrying packages or helping mitigate symptoms of PTSD through nightmare interruption and much more. 


Amber & Arbor

Amber Skylar was raised with strong military roots. Growing up, her mother helped Vietnam vets and her Uncle was an Air Force engineer. After college, at 24-years-old, Amber enlisted to serve. She found a love for air defense artillery and became an expert in weapons. As a result of her time serving, Amber developed PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) In 2016, Amber met a woman at the VA who had a Canine Companions service dog. After learning more about the organization, she applied in 2017 and was then matched with Service Dog Arbor who helps mitigate her PTSD symptoms. Amber shares, “It has changed my life profoundly. Arbor has given me back my honor. Canine Companions is my team. I am a veteran with PTSD, and some deep wounds, and I can say that this program is powerful. It’s not just the dog, it’s the program and the training.”


Jackson & Seely

Jackson Sherry served in the US Navy as a nuclear engineer in charge of maintaining and operating the nuclear reactor that powers the submarine. In 2016, while on leave, he was in a car accident that resulted in a broken neck and a spinal cord injury. When he was rehabilitating at the VA hospital, he learned about Canine Companions and applied for a service dog. He met his perfect match in February 2020 with Service Dog Seely who picks up dropped items, turns on and off lights, and assists with other tasks. Jackson shares, “Seely is definitely the best animal companion I’ve ever had. It’s amazing that donors can make this possible for free, she’s so well trained and also a great partner in crime.”