Sofia and Service Dog Trooper

Sofia and Service Dog Trooper seating on the stair in front of the librearyGrowing up, Sofia Solari’s progressive hearing loss, vision difficulties and partial paralysis made school feel overwhelming. As a teen, her hearing decreased dramatically, causing even more stress. She began to experience increased neurological issues, like extreme vertigo, that made daily life difficult. 

When Sofia entered college in bustling New York City, her family and friends also began to worry – she couldn’t hear the blaring fire alarms, traffic behind her or someone knocking on her door. 

“My mom sent me the link to Canine Companions,” Sofia remembers. “I conducted a lot of research and decided that this was the organization that could provide the love and care I needed as I graduated with my service dog.”

In October 2023, Sofia was invited to Team Training. The first dog she met would become her new best friend and partner – Trooper. Service Dog Trooper is the difference between a silent, confusing world and a world of safety and independence.

“Trooper has aided me in all aspects of my life,” Sofia says. “He alerts me to doorbells, fire alarms and my phone. The love I have for Trooper is tremendous.”

Service dogs, like Trooper, provide a sense of safety and peace of mind for clients with deafness or hearing loss. Trooper always has an ear out for important sounds Sofia can’t hear, allowing her to focus her energy elsewhere.

With Trooper by her side, Sofia works as a preschool teacher while earning a master’s degree in Teaching Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Columbia University.

“Everyone loves Trooper. He’s become a popular ‘star’ on campus,” Sofia says. “I love him and Canine Companions beyond words for changing my life.”