Puppies with a Purpose

(WSVN) - A horseback riding accident left one South Florida woman in a wheelchair. Find out how she turned her frightening experience into an opportunity to help others in our special report, “Puppies with a Purpose.”

From family dogs to riding show horses, animals have always been a part of Lindsay’s life.

Lindsay Scheer, 19 years old: “I grew up with at least two dogs in the house all the time. I first started horseback riding probably when I was about 5.”

But her life changed after a horrible riding accident in 2012.

Sheryl Scheer, mother: “When the horse did a somersault, Lindsey’s legs got lassoed into the rings and she wound up hanging upside down on the side of the horse.”

Lindsay Scheer: “I had a concussion, I shattered my right leg, I skinned the whole right side of my body.”

Lindsay Scheer
Lindsay Scheer

Lindsay spent a year in a wheelchair. During that time, she realized the struggles others with disabilities face every day.

Sheryl Scheer: “She really felt like that she was disappearing, that while she was sitting in the chair, the conversation went over and around her.”

Lindsay wanted to find a way to help those with disabilities and discovered Canine Companions for Independence. The organization provides service dogs, and is always looking for trainers.

So Lindsay wanted to do it.

Sheryl Scheer: “And I told her, ‘Sorry, Lindsey, never going to happen.’ There’s no way that I can put my heart and soul and love an animal, and then just give it away.

Sheryl Scheer
Sheryl Scheer

Lindsay Scheer: “I was met with, ‘If you get out of the wheelchair, we’ll talk about it,’ and I said, ‘No, no! We are getting out of this wheelchair.'”

She got out of her wheelchair and took her mom to dinner … with people who have service dogs.

Lindsay Scheer: “Within 15 minutes of talking to the people who have received dogs, my mom came home, signed the paper and we got our first dog.”

The puppy spent a year and a half with Lindsay and her mom. They taught her basic obedience and socialization. After training was complete, they went to a training campus to pair the puppy with her perfect match.

Cristina Saint-Blancard: “You’re there for two weeks in their campus, and it’s very exhausting. You’re in class from 8 o’clock in the morning ’till 5 o’clock at night. For me, hands down, puppy raisers are the unsung heroes of the organization.”

Lindsay admits it’s hard to give up the puppy she has grown attached to, but knowing she’s helping others is worth it.

Lindsay Scheer: “That’s probably the best thing I could have ever imagined doing.”

Lindsay and and her mom are now training their third puppy. Canine Companions for Independence will be looking for trainers at their dog fest at Markham Park early next year.


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Canine Companions for Independence

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