For the Love of Dogs and Great Wine in the Northwest
Stories of Independence
Tortilla Is My Perfect Match
Bay Area resident Arash Bayatmakou was always extremely active – constantly riding his bike around town, hiking and backpacking in the mountains and exploring the outdoors.
Arash’s life changed in 2012 when he broke his neck after falling from a third-story balcony, resulting in a spinal cord injury. While Arash now uses a wheelchair for mobility, he continues to enjoy the active lifestyle he loves.
In 2018, Arash was matched – free of charge – with Canine Companions Service Dog Tortilla. Tortilla is expertly trained in 45 commands to empower Arash to lead life with greater independence.
“Since I get dressed in bed every day, I used to have to reach down on the floor to grab my shoes and socks off the ground and then struggle to get back up into sitting up in bed,” Arash says. “Now, I just call for Tortilla, and he comes running in and grabs my shoes and socks for me.”
A writer, speaker and advocate for people with spinal cord injuries, Arash enjoys time with family, runs a non-profit, works on his physical rehabilitation and swims with his wife in the chilly San Francisco Bay.
Tortilla picks up dropped items for Arash, opens and closes doors and drawers, and even pulls him in his manual wheelchair. He happily helps Arash with many everyday needs with a cold nose, a warm heart and a wagging tail.
Impact of Independence
Canine Companions is the most highly acclaimed and accredited service dog organization in the United States.
Our unique and proven team training sets us apart by ensuring the match between dog and human is powerful and lasting.