These highly trained dogs would typically cost nearly $50,000, but Canine Companions for Independence is giving them away free of charge.
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Andres Jimenez has a new leash on life thanks to Canine Companions for Independence.

The young man from Georgetown, Texas, is one of 89 people with disabilities across the country that was gifted a service dog by the nonprofit during the pandemic.

Last week, Jimenez and his new service dog, Dewey, completed a full week of socially distanced group training along at the Canine Companions for Independence at Baylor Scott & White Health – Kinkeade Campus in Irving.

Each Canine Companions assistance dog is trained in over 40 commands to assist with daily tasks such as retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning on and off lights and much more, as well as providing constant companionship. They would typically cost nearly $50,000, but they give the dogs away free of charge.

“At the start of this pandemic, we knew we needed to keep our mission moving. We have these dogs that are in training and some incredible people who can benefit from them," Courtney Craig, a worker with Canine Companions, told KVUE. She added that the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic has been extra challenging for some people with disabilities.

"Being home a lot more, a lot of our graduates, they may not be able to or feel comfortable have family members or caregivers to come over and take care of them,” Craig explained. “So now they have their dog there, so they don't have to get up and get the TV remote across the room or things like that.”

Jimenez has a form of muscular dystrophy, which impedes his mobility and the use of his arms and legs. Dewey is his second service dog from Canine Companions for Independence, following in the footsteps of his first service dog Dennie, who retired last year.