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Nonprofit gives free service dog to disabled Texas man amid COVID-19 pandemic

Canine Companion has given 89 service dogs to different people with disabilities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — A Georgetown man was given the gift of a lifetime: making everyday tasks much less easier to accomplish.

Andres Jimenez is one of 89 people with disabilities across the country that was given a therapy dog during the pandemic by the nonprofit Canine Companions.

Based out of California, the nonprofit has six offices, including one in the Dallas area. Jimenez drove to Dallas last week to spend one week training with his new dog, Dewey, before bringing him back to Central Texas. 

Each assistance dog is trained in over 40 commands, including opening doors, turning on lights and retrieving items. 

Courtney Craig, a worker with Canine Companions, told KVUE each dog would typically cost nearly $50,000, but they give the dogs away free of charge. 

"At the start of this pandemic, we knew we needed to keep our mission moving. We have these dogs that are in training and some incredible people who can benefit from them," said Craig.

The pandemic has also required a lot of isolation, which Craig said can be extra challenging for some people.

"Being home a lot more, a lot of our graduates, they may not be able to or feel comfortable have family members or caregivers to come over and take care of them. So now they have their dog there so they don't have to get up and get the TV remote across the room or things like that," said Craig.

Each dog undergoes training for two years before being placed with an owner.

WATCH: Nonprofit gives free service dog to disabled Texas man amid COVID-19 pandemic

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