First-Ever Service Dog Training Center Opens in Irving

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LAS COLINAS -- Hallow is still sort of a puppy at  one and a half years old. But this week, she's starting her first day of school.

“It is like college,” says Jeanine Konopelski of Canine Companions for Independence. “If you imagine Hallow has been through puppy class and has now graduated to professional school.”

Hallow is part of the first class of pups in the Canine Training Center in Irving. For the next six to nine months, she’ll learn to be a service dog.

It’s a partnership between Baylor Scott and White Health and Canine Companion for Independence. Monday was the official grand opening of the first service dog training center in Texas.

“She will learn how to retrieve and turn on and off a light switch,” says Konopelski. “Over 40 commands that will help a person with a disability.”

When Hallow graduates, she may follow in the “paw steps” of Rue, who has been serving wounded warrior Jason Morgan for the past year and a half.

“Being in a wheelchair, people would go out of your way. It was like I had leprosy or something,” says Morgan. “Which is really sad when you get hurt serving your country and you feel like your almost outcast from society.”

But having a service dog has given this Air Force veteran a new “leash on life.”

“Everyday is memorable with Rue around. Instead of repelling people away, it was like a magnet thats just attracted people,” he says.

The training center really is the starting point for best friends “fur-ever.”

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