Dallas Blaser has cerebral palsy and is helped by his assistance dog, Rocky.

Dallas Blaser has cerebral palsy and is helped by his assistance dog, Rocky.

1. Dallas, can you tell us why you needed the services of an assistance dog?
I need an assistant dog because due to me being born premature at 24 weeks I developed cerebral palsy which limits my mobility and ability to do things independently.

2. How did you go about finding your dog, what is his name and how long did it take for you and your dog to adjust to each other?
My mom and I were at therapy one day and another patient there had a service dog from Canine Companions for Independence with them. They said what a great benefit the dog had been for their son.
So we asked for information about CCI and contacted them. My service dog's name is Rocky. We adjusted to each other the minute we met. The people working with us at CCI said they have never seen an immediate bond like the one with Rocky and me.

3. How has your assistance dog changed your life and in what ways specifically does he help you maneuver through your daily routine?
Rocky has changed my life in many ways but I think the most important way is the sense of comfort.
Just knowing he's there and always will be. Rocky is able to help me in many ways and right now he does little things like pick up something I have dropped or carry a book for me to the other room. Right now I'm working on independence and life skills and this is where Rocky will really be of help. He will "tug" my laundry basket to the laundry room where then I can have him "get" my clothes out of the basket so I can put them in the washer. Rocky will also help me "get" my clothes out of the dryer. Rocky will help me open doors, turn lights on and off, and even take my money at the store from me get up on the counter (with just his front paws of course) and pay the cashier. His abilities are endless and by having him in my life he makes my abilities endless too.

4. Apart from the physical ways in which your dog assists you, how does he motivate you to keep a positive outlook when challenging incidents arise?
He helps me keep a positive outlook by knowing I may not be able to do things by myself but with Rocky's help I can do so much more of what everyone else does. He's my extra hands and feet that I need to make me complete.

5. What is the best part of sharing your life with a canine who is devoted to making your life easier?
The best part about sharing my life with Rocky is that at the end of the day he can be just like any other dog and that allows me to feel like any other boy. We can play fetch or just walk through the yard with him beside me in my walker. The best part is at the end of the day when he gets up in my bed and we go to sleep just like any other boy and his dog. He's my buddy that will always be there for just me!

— Rimsie McConiga