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Canine Companions graduate and get matched with forever families

Oasis is only 2 years old, but on Friday she graduated with the Canine Companions 2023 class.

She is a Labrador retriever, and upon graduation she got to begin her lifelong job of helping Jason Gackstetter.

Jason is disabled and his dad Tim is his facilitator.


"Her best thing that she does for us is, when we’re out in public, she makes the wheelchair disappear, and everybody wants to come up to her and say hi and talk to Jason," Tim said.

Canine Companions are raised by volunteer puppy raisers before beginning their training to help people with disabilities.

“Having one of these dogs bridges social gaps, and really shows the community that they are more than a person with a disability. They’re a person with a dog," said Anika Schenkel. She helps train the dogs before they are matched with their forever partners.

"We give the dogs enrichment, socialization, and teach them their skills and tasks," she said. "We look at what the recipient really needs and what the dog is capable of, and what their natural abilities are." 

Some of the things Oasis will be helping Jason with are picking things up from the ground and helping with doors.


Jason says his favorite things about Oasis is that she is very affectionate and likes to give him kisses.

Recipients are not charged to get matched with a dog, and the organization operates with support from donations and volunteers.

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