Service Dog Helps Iraq War Veteran - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Service Dog Helps Iraq War Veteran

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It took just one mistake in a swimming pool to put Brian Cash in a wheel chair.

"Dove into a pool a little over three years ago, broke my neck. There was a ledge[, I] hit the ledge and I'm a quad," recalls Cash.

Today, this Iraq war vet loves to play ball with his retriever, Haylee.

"I've had her about a month. She's half golden, half lab." Cash says.

Haylee can make a great catch, but this relationship goes so much deeper.

This twenty-month-old service dog is not only Brian's best friend, but she can also open doors, turn on lights, pick up the occasional dropped cell phone, and even get Brain's lunch out the fridge.

"She can turn off lights, air conditioning, things like that, but the biggest thing is just having a dog," Cash says.

Haylee is a graduate of Canine Partners. The Aurora-based organization provides service dogs for people with disabilities throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

"This young lady is Lucy. She is about four months old right now. She will spend the next eighteen months in the puppy training program," says a trainer.

These trainers are all volunteers. They also know that when their eighteen months with the dogs are over, they are faced with having to let their pups go.

"The first time I saw a dog working with someone of limited mobility, I said, ‘How could I keep this dog. How could I be that selfish,'" reflects a trainer.

And that makes people like Brian Cash ever so grateful. After all his setbacks, he has found his best friend and his life is on track.

"I'm going to school, I've got one semester left, hoping that will be a good thing," says Cash.

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