Tasks that require more muscle strength can be difficult for 28-year-old Shylah. On the bright side, she has a new furry partner, Freddy.

MIDLAND, Texas — September is national service dog awareness month, and a woman in Midland is celebrating the start of the month the right way. She brought her furry best friend home for the first time this past weekend.  

Shylah Cutbirth spent the last week having a life changing experience at the Canine Companions facility in Irving, Texas.

“It’ll be so much help for me and help me with being independent,” said Cutbirth. 

Just like the life changing diagnosis she received when she was 12. 

“I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, ever since then it has progressed little by little,” said Cutbirth. “I can’t do things like pick stuff up off the ground.”

Opening the refrigerator and other tasks that require more muscle strength can be difficult for 28-year-old Shylah. 

On the bright side, she has a a new partner, Freddy. 

She was matched with him during her stay at the Canine Companions facility. That’s when they started training together to learn how he will help with with everyday tasks.

Canine Companions for Independence is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs and training free of charge to recipients. 

“They were so giving,” said Cutbirth. “Freddy will be able to help me pick things up that I drop. He’ll be able to go fetch things that I need and turn on and off lights if I’m not able to get up.”

It’s more than what Freddy can do that matters though, it’s what the partnership is doing for Shylah and those around her. 

“With him being able to do all these things for me I’m not going to have to ask people as much to pick things up for me or get this out of the fridge or whatever it may be,” said Cutbirth. “I’ll be able to do it myself and with Freddy, and that just me feel so much better that I’m taking the load off other people and I feel like I can do it myself now.”

Having Freddy as a partner will help Shylah become more confident and independent.   

For more information on Canine Companions you can click here.