Custom-trained Assistance Dogs enhance independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally. We increase awareness of the rights / roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education and advocacy.
Real LifeWhen you first enter Jim Bonner's home, you will immediately notice the Purple Heart Medal that is prominently displayed on his living room wall. Then you see a black Labrador Retriever named "Coal" standing at Jim's side with an indescribable look of love and devotion. The partnership of Jim and "Coal" was made possible by donors to the Combined Federal Campaign.
Jim was very seriously injured during a tour of combat duty in World War II. He feared losing his independence and was determined to return home to pursue his dreams. Jim went on to graduate from college, marry, have a family, and work for many years as a teacher and school administrator.
Years later, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and again, was faced with losing his independence. The gradual progression of the disease made it difficult for Jim to keep his balance, to hold on to items securely, to bend over to pick up items he dropped, to rise from a chair, and even to call for help in an emergency. One day, Jim's daughter saw a PAWS Dog and learned how dogs could be trained to help people with disabilities. Jim applied for a Service Dog, and thanks to the generosity of CFC donors, he was partnered with "Coal".
"Coal" was trained to retrieve items Jim drops, to bring him anything he needs, such as his cane, or the portable telephone so he can call for help. "Coal" braces at Jim's side to help him get up from a chair and uses a special strap to pull Jim to a standing position. He walks slowly and gently at Jim's side to help him balance when walking.
Thanks to the CFC and PAWS, "Coal" is always there, at home and in public, with that look of love and devotion, and the promise of independence for Jim for many years to come.