PAALS service dogs cross the stage for the cutest graduation ever

Winston working hard with PAALS on his journey to become a service dog

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -“It’s really like a new lease on life,” said Marka Rodgers, who’s just been paired with a dog named Kora. “Kora will pick things up if I drop them, she opens heavy doors. I’m an incomplete quadriplegic, so my upper body doesn’t work as well it should.

Seven dogs received their diplomas at today’s graduation, and all of those certificates were delivered by fellow pups.

The folks paired with these service animals said they are already making an impact.

“I’ll go unconscious from most stressful circumstances,” said Don Walker, who’s also been paired with a PAAL. “Tyger’s there to keep me from hurting myself. To help me re-orient, even wake me up if he can.”

While some of these dogs will be working one on one with their new teammates, other will step into roles that where they will be meeting the needs of different types of clients from day to day. One dog named Flossy already has a badge and ID card for the work she’ll be doing with the Department of Corrections.

“She provides support to staff who’ve been assaulted or experienced some other trauma over the course of their work,” said Karin Ho, who works with Flossy.

As they turn their tassels, and their tails, to head off to work these folks are just happy to have a new pal here to help out.

“They’re an amazing group, and I don’t know where I’d be without them,” Rodgers said.

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