WACO, Texas — When the Copp family was featured on HGTV's 'Fixer Upper' sons Calan and Lawson had difficulty navigating their own home.
The brothers were both born with an extremely rare genetic disorder that affects their mobility and cognitive development. It took years just to get a diagnosis.
"Seeing what he's able to go through on a daily basis and overcome is really pretty inspiring," said Jody Copp, Calan's father.
That was why Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Foundation partnered with Tim Tebow to build the family a fully accessible home.
Now, the family has a new addition: A service dog trained with more than 40 commands to help Calan become more independent.
The 2-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross was given to the family free of charge after Canine Companions for Independence matched her to Calan, according to a press release from CCI. She was trained at Texas Companions training center in Irving.
"I was very very ready to have a friend for Callan because I knew that he could use a friend," said Jody Copp.
Jaia's assistance in daily tasks is invaluable as Calan relies on a walker or wheelchair for mobility.
She is trained to help Calan navigate the new home and can open the back door on command, allowing Calan to go outside and play. She retrieves dropped items so Calan can stay safely in his chair.
"She can help me open doors. I play with her, pet her, we play tug with her. We're very thankful," said Calan Copp.
She was also trained to be integrated into Calan's physical therapy and can help him build muscles and endurance through playtime.
Jaia accompanies Calan to school every day.
Children, adults and veterans with disabilities throughout Texas can apply for an assistance dog like Jaia at the Canine Companions for Independence website.
Calan's family has started the Raising Wheels Foundation to raise awareness and help families facing similar battles. Learn more about Raising Wheels here
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