Text Transcript – Drive Independence – and Give a Dog a Job

Canine Companions for Independence is the first and now largest organization that trains assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. Every level of disability can be really challenging for someone that has more than one disability. Taking advantage of having an exceptional dog, like Mork, that changes everything. BraunAbility has been a pioneer in the mobility industry for the last 50 years. Adapting vehicles and continuing to push the envelope and make vehicles more maneuverable, to bring independence to people in wheelchairs. I think it’s really important that Chrysler being a leader in its field, and BraunAbility being a leader in adaptive equipment is partnering with Canine Companions for Independence and our “Give a Dog a Job” Campaign.

Having a disability is often an isolated condition and it’s not to say that there isn’t joy in my life in other ways. And a lot of people don’t realize that people with disabilities do have a life outside of being disabled. I am married. I have a wonderful wife, Rachel. We have friends, we have families, we want to take those things that we love with us. Having an accessible vehicle, it’s having the ability to say “Hey I can drive my co-workers to lunch because I’ve got seats in the back and I have a passenger seat and I can drive it.”

Pacifica lends itself very, very well for maneuverability. We’re just able to create a lot of space inside the vehicle and makes maneuverability that much easier. The impact that we have on people with wheelchairs and bringing them independence and the ability to go where they want and live a fully active independent lifestyle is extremely rewarding.

Every dog that graduates from Canine Companions spend six to nine months in our professional training program. They learn, what I like to call “the factory settings”, that’s 40 commands, of turning on lights, opening doors, pulling manual wheelchairs, and you start to see the dog and the person growing together. That’s the real majesty of what we do. We have a purpose. It’s not just a commodity. We’re building a vehicle for an individual. I feel really lucky. That I can use both an assistance dog and an upfitted van and both have amazing technology integrated help me live more independently.