Cordillera event benefits service dog organization |

Cordillera event benefits service dog organization

Special to the DailyIraq war veteran Matthew Keil and his service dog, Gus, will appear at Journey to Independence, Canine Companions for Independence's annual Vail Valley fundraising event, Monday in Cordillera.

EDWARDS, Colorado – Journey to Independence, Canine Companions for Independence’s annual Vail Valley fundraising event, will be held on Monday at The Timber Hearth Grille in Cordillera.

The event will start at 5:30 p.m. and will include a cocktail buffet as well as a silent and live auction. All proceeds from the event will benefit Canine Companions for Independence Colorado.

Canine Companions for Independence provides highly trained assistance dogs, free of charge, to children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

Colorado resident and Iraq war veteran Matthew Keil received his service dog, Gus, not too long ago. Keil became paralyzed after being shot by a sniper in Iraq. Because he now must use a wheelchair, Keil relies upon Gus for help with everyday physical tasks like turning lights on and off, opening doors, and retrieving dropped items.

“Gus helps me with so many things around the house, so I feel like I don’t need to ask someone for everything,” Keil said. “I can ask Gus to turn on the light in the kitchen or turn on the fireplace when I am cold.”

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Canine Companions is able to provide life-changing dogs like Gus at no cost to the recipients, thanks to private donations, corporate sponsorships, and fundraisers like Journey to Independence. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet Keil and Gus and see firsthand how valuable CCI assistance dogs are to their partners.

Volunteer puppy raisers will also be at the event with the puppies they are raising for CCI, including Vail resident Leah O’Brien with the puppy Tyler.

Tickets for Monday night are still available. For reservations and information call Anne Roberts, event chair, at 970-926-7322.

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