Hilary and Hudson

person sitting with Canine Companions service dog

“I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I hadn’t gotten involved with Canine Companions for Independence,” states Hilary.

Hilary is a young artist with cerebral palsy preparing for graduate school. She primarily walks with the assistance of one forearm crutch, but sometimes also uses a wheelchair to get around in situations where she knows her balance might be difficult to maintain. Crowded areas where she might get bumped by other people or long excursions when she might get tired are especially difficult.

“I was first motivated to get a service dog when I was 16 years old to increase my independence,” says Hilary. “I had never been to the mall or the movies by myself. Even getting from the parking lot to meet a friend inside was tricky.”

After receiving Hudson, a Canine Companions assistance dog, a lot changed for Hilary. Hudson’s calm temperament and his expert training have greatly benefited Hilary. “He falls over himself in joy to pick up a marker or something I’ve dropped. It is ridiculous and great!” explains Hilary with a big smile on her face. “And he doesn’t get worked up about anything at all, which keeps me calm in situations where I might not be otherwise. That quality has massively improved my patience in all aspects of life.”

Having Service Dog Hudson has given Hilary the ability to live on her own and attend college. “Hudson has allowed me to live great distances from my very supportive family. We have lived in Chicago, Portland, Austin and Houston,” says Hilary. “Hudson has also become a bridge to the world for me. This cute dog helps people who might ordinarily find it awkward to strike up a conversation with me. People are also less likely to bump into me, because they notice Hudson. He has made a huge difference for me academically and personally.”