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Canine lovers take a Paws to Celebrate at Fox Chapel Golf Club

| Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 9:00 p.m.
Tom Flynn and Judy Myers with 'Soloman' at the Fox Chapel Golf Club for 'Paws To Celebrate' Sunday, December 16, 2012. Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Augie and Lori Barrante with 'Harlan II' at the Fox Chapel Golf Club for 'Paws To Celebrate' Sunday, December 16, 2012. Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Joseph Leckenby with 'Inga' at the Fox Chapel Golf Club for 'Paws To Celebrate' Sunday, December 16, 2012. Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review

Unwavering discipline, steadfast loyalty, elite training ... and a cold, wet nose.

No better way to sum up the Canine Companions for Independence, five of which were making the rounds among the likes of Judy Myers, Courtney andTim Borntraeger, Tom Flynn, Lori andAugie Barrante, Sara Scaife, and Sally Wiggin during Paws to Celebrate, held Dec. 16 at the Fox Chapel Golf Club.

Canine Companions for Independence, the largest assistance-dog organization in the world, is run by a dedicated team of volunteer trainers and professionals who work in tandem to enhance the lives of adults and kids with disabilities by providing them with an assistance dog (and ongoing support) free of charge.

“These dogs just bring magic into these people's lives,” said Peggy Douglass (withJim).

Mastering upward of 40 commands, their repertoire includes knowing how to turn lights on and off, open and close doors and drawers, and pick up dropped objects — not to mention mastering the whole “best friends” thing. For Kim andJulie Leckenby, the bond their son Joseph shares with his dog Inga was instantaneous.

“Being an only child, it's the joy of having a best friend to play with. They're inseparable,” Julie said.

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