Jason Morgan, an Air Force veteran, was injured in the line of duty 11 years ago, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. But thanks to the organization Canine Companions for Independence, a furry new friend is giving him a new lease on life.
Morgan has always been an active person, so he said coping with a disability hasn't been easy.
"It's been a struggle I'm not going to lie I'm a very optimistic person but to go from jumping out of airplanes to a wheelchair has been really tough," said Morgan.
But the last 6 months has been a lot easier, thanks to his new friend Nepal.
"A lot of it for me is just the, is just the companionship," Morgan said.
Fitting, seeing that Jason got Nepal from the organization Canine Companions for Independence. Based in San Diego, they train dogs like Nepal to help veterans like Morgan. Morgan said some of the biggest help comes at the grocery store.
"Having, I guess, 9-10 surgeries on my back, he retrieves things off the ground and puts them in my lap," Morgan said of Nepal.
The black lab also gets Morgan in the elevator, and sparks plenty of conversation.
"He attracts a lot of attention, especially the kids, I always stop, and he knows how to wave so he waves at the kids as we go by," Morgan said.
Morgan said the process of getting Nepal took about 5 months. The trainers in San Diego match up the dog with the veteran, then the companions go through 2 weeks of training.
"When you go up there they know so much about you that it's a perfect match," Morgan said.
Morgan said he and Nepal are inseparable, and now, he couldn't imagine it any other way.
"In fact out of everything I’ve done to try and improve my life, nothing's even come close to getting my service dog, Nepal," Morgan said.