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Man finds Treasure – service dog gave him a new lease on life

Jim McClellan has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that causes his spine to curve.

Erin Logan

Jan 5, 2023, 1:28 PM

Updated 530 days ago

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A Norwalk man has a new lease on life following help from his community and a service dog.
If you ask Jim McClellan what life was like without Treasure, he'll tell you, "I felt isolated. Very isolated and fearful."
McClellan has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that causes his spine to curve. He was constantly falling and could rarely leave home. His doctor suggested he apply for a service dog.
"I applied to [Educated Canines Assisting With Disabilities] in Torrington and it was a long process of submitting a detailed application and then I had to go for an interview because I was on a waiting list," said McClellan.
ECAD is a nonprofit that helps train the service dogs and matching them with the right person.
"There's a candidate from West Haven who was paralyzed from a car accident and they provided her with a service dog that was trained for her needs," he said.
In McClellan's case, he says he showed a commitment to ECAD's training program for about two years, which led him to an anonymous donor out of state contributing nearly $15,000. Another $15,000 came from his neighbors at Ironworks and area businesses like the Spread and Washington Prime.
"I want to thank you. I can't thank everybody enough. This has been a life changer in just a short amount of time," said McClellan.
He's been able to walk longer distances and hasn't been falling. Having Treasure around has also helped left his spirits.
"It's improved my social life. Because I'm disabled, I've had people be sometimes disrespectful," he said.
McClellan encourages anyone who may qualify for a service dog, to learn more about ECAD.


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