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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  November 12, 2003
LIFESTYLE:  Holiday Helper | House & Home | Money | Pets | Recipes | Relationships | Travel | Weddings
Local Organization Rescues Dogs To Help Disabled
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Paws For Independence

Deacon is a friendly, boisterous dog with a mission: To give his soon-to-be owner a steady paw.

"Deacon is a good cane," says his soon-to-be owner Steve McCarthy.

Steve was the victim of a brain injury about 25 years ago and it caused him to be slightly paralyzed on his right side.  As a result, Steve is a little unsteady on his feet, but that's where Deacon comes in.  "He does help me out a lot.  I need the extra balance."

Deacon was rescued form a Providence shelter by Christina Johnson who, for the past four years, has run a local service dog training organization called Paws For Independence.  "We're saving dogs and we're helping out people that both need it and deserve it."

Because of limited resources, Christina, a specialized behaviorist and dog trainerc can only train one dog at a time.  She's hoping more funds and more volunteers will help increase the number of matches.  As for Deacon, because of his strength and size, Christina knew he was a perfect match for Steve.  "A lot of what he'll be doing for Steve is sort of acting as a mobile cane."

"I feel more comfortable just walking around.  I walk around with Deacon without a cane, which is something I could not do before," says Steve.

But Deacon is more than a furry cane.  He's a pal and he's proof that a dog, rescued from an uncertain future, can help rescue someone right back. 

If you want more information on how you can donate time and money to Paws For Independence, you can call 539-0947 or log on to www.pawsforindependence.com

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