Service dog gives Kimberly woman a renewed sense of freedom

“Two years later, I was diagnosed with Lupus and life got hard”
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 9:52 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — These days Lacee Clinger has her constant companion and service dog Rhenny by her side to help her, but that wasn’t always the case.

10 years ago, Clinger worked at the College of Southern Idaho bookstore when a mom and daughter came into the store with a future service dog in training. The idea of raising a service dog intrigued her, so they left her a card with more information on being a puppy raiser.

“Two years later, I was diagnosed with Lupus and life got hard. I don’t have a lot of energy, so I started researching service dogs. I was cleaning my office one day and I found that puppy raisers card,” said Clinger.

Into her life came Rhenny who aids her with everything from doing the laundry and picking things off the ground, to even recognizing when she needs medical help. Rhenny was provided free of charge thanks to national nonprofit Canine Companions.

“Rhenny knows if something is wrong before I do,” said Clinger. “My doctors have learned that if I say ‘hey, Rhenny is acting funny,’ we know that there’s something wrong.”

Clinger said having Rhenny gave her the freedom to live her life and not be restricted by her disability.

“I know with my kids being at school and my husband being at work, I know that I’m safe when I’m at home by myself because I have her with me,” said Clinger.

Now, Clinger is looking to pay it forward by raising a future service dog candidate named Merida.

“She is such a good dog,” said Clinger. “We love her, we love having her. We’re going to be sad to give her back, but we’re giving her to someone who needs her.”

In hopes of someone else being afforded the freedom, she has felt thanks to her service dog.

“Rhenny was magic for our family,” said Clinger. “She was magic for me, She was magic for my kids.”

More information on Canine Companions can be found here.

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