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For the Love of Dogs and Great Wine in the Northwest

Stories of Independence

Man smiling with his arm around yellow lab in blue service vest, both leaning on a tree
Arash and Tortilla

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.

For more inspiration, please visit Our Stories page.

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.

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teams placed throughout the United States since 1975
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the number of interactions our dogs have in the community each year
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of veterans report that quality of life has improved
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of facility dog handlers report increased client engagement and willingness to participate in therapies

2021 Northern California Training Center Highlights

puppy and service dog seating on grass

Here are some of our proudest accomplishments at the Jean and Charles Schulz Training Center in Santa Rosa, CA serving 8 states.

For more information about Canine Companions, please visit our home page or contact us.

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