SANTA ROSA, California – Clifford the Big Red Dog is known for being a beloved best friend to a little girl named Emily. The massive dog’s antics keep everyone laughing. However, there’s another big dog with the same name that is a bit more mellow and helpful, but still a best friend – Clifford the Canine Companions service dog. Service Dog Clifford assists 8-year-old Alexis Becker to help her lead a more independent life.
Alexis experienced hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) at the age of two, resulting in a catastrophic disability. Doctors weren’t sure they could save her, but the help of a trained facility dog at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital could.
“They brought in their facility dog to see if Alexis would respond. After 10 minutes of me using her hand to pet him, she started moving her hand on her own for the first time,” says Alexis’ mom Tiffany, on the TODAY Show with Hoda & Jenna.
Tiffany turned to Canine Companions as Alexis was recovering, knowing that a dog changed her life once before. The little girl and her parents were matched with Service Dog Clifford, entirely free of charge. The big yellow Labrador is trained in 45 commands to assist Alexis with tasks she finds difficult, including retrieving toys, helping with chores, walking and being a furry best friend.
Coincidentally, Alexis and Clifford graduated from two-week Team Training the same week that Clifford the Big Red Dog Movie was set to release in theaters.
This serendipitous event caught the eye of Paramount Pictures, the production company behind the Clifford movie, and TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. In honor of the expert training of Service Dog Clifford, Paramount Pictures generously donated $35,000 to Canine Companions. Because of generous donations like this, Canine Companions continues to provide service dogs to people with disabilities at no cost to the client.
Alexis and Clifford’s story captured the hearts of millions in a segment on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna alongside Clifford actor Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live fame.
“When I look back at Alexis’ inability to even pet the facility dog to now looking at her walking around the room, holding Clifford’s leash, petting him and loving on him, it’s just really miraculous,” Tiffany remarks.
Check out the heartwarming piece from the TODAY show here.* We are grateful to Paramount Pictures and the TODAY Show for their gift and assistance in raising awareness about the important work service dogs like Clifford do every day. do every day.
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