NBC DFW: New Program Unites More People With Service Dogs

November 2015

Former Air Force staff sergeant Jason Morgan spent years jumping into danger, until a combat mission changed everything.

The mission left the North Texan paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.

“It’s almost like your invisible,” said Morgan. “To lose your identity, your purpose in life is about the worst thing that can happen.”

For years Morgan felt lost until he found a special friend – an assistance dog from Canine Companions for Independence. The dog helped Morgan reconnect with the world physically and emotionally.

Canine Companions is now coming to North Texas through a unique partnership with Baylor, Scott & White.

A new nine-acre campus is almost complete. The Kinkeade Campus, next to the Baylor Surgical Hospital in Las Colinas, will be able to train up to 60 assistance dogs and their owners every year.

Since 1975, Canine Companions for Independence, has provided highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities for free. This is the first time the organization has opened a facility in Texas and the first time they are partnering with a healthcare system.

The program depends on volunteers who offer to raise and aggressively train a dog for 18 months.

“It’s changed my life,” said Carol Long. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

For Morgan, a four-legged companion led to his calling.

He is now working to connect assistance dogs with other North Texas veterans.

“This is something that’s going to make a difference every day for the rest of your life,” he said.