Making Strides and Warming Lives
Bari and Service Dog Axel III


Bari Schlesinger was once unable to pick up items that she dropped on the floor. She once relied on others to open doors. She once feared going places alone. 

Thanks to the help of Canine Companions for Independence, Bari no longer strains herself to retrieve dropped items, she doesn’t need to wait for strangers to come along and open doors, and gone are the days of anxiety and doubt. Bari is now a self-assured and independent individual with her wonderful Canine Companions assistance dog, Axel III, provided to her free of charge.

Axel has helped Bari make strides, especially in the place of work. Recently retired, Bari was employed by the state of California as an analyst and working in a busy office setting where any other dog would be distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday office life; but not Axel! “I’m his number one priority,” say Bari of her four-legged friend. Axel was trained by Canine Companions and has mastered over 40 commands that help Bari live more independently. “Axel helps me by picking up items I drop like keys, staplers, even paperclips! He also helps me remove my jacket each morning which reduces my reliance on others.”

Bari is thankful to have Axel to assist with physical tasks and comfort her during emotional struggles. “When you have a disability, there are so many challenges throughout the day that can bring you down; but when you have a dog, there is always someone there to lift you up. I never feel alone,” says Bari. “Canine Companions gave me my best friend and biggest supporter. What more could a girl ever ask for?”