35 Years of Enhanced Independence

Jeanette was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition that causes her to lose muscle strength over time, constantly altering her needs. Since 1987—for over 35 years—she has relied on Canine Companions service dogs to enhance her independence. In November 2021, Jeanette matched with Service Dog Fiji, her fourth service dog from us. “The minute Fiji cuddled up next to me, it was like we were bonded instantly,” she says.

Over the years, her disease has impacted her mobility in various ways and to different degrees, but one thing remained constant—a Canine Companions service dog was always there to help her. Jeanette says proudly, “These service dogs give me the dignity and independence to survive my daily challenges and make anything possible.” From opening difficult sliding doors to her backyard and retrieving mail from her mailbox to picking up specific items by following her eye movement, Fiji is there for Jeanette right beside her.

Image of Jeanette in a wheelchair with service dog Fiji in her lap