Charlie and Devon

A veteran service dog team

It takes a distinct form of courage to take on a job called “Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician.” Especially while serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. Charlie Linville, of Boise, is that kind of brave.

Even while recounting how he was injured, Charlie is matter-of-fact. “I stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device),” says Charlie. “When I came to and figured out what happened, my leg was severely damaged, my hand was severely damaged and I had some brain injuries.” Charlie tried to save his leg but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. “For 18 months after my injury I had my leg. I had several surgeries, but I was in so much pain I decided to have it amputated and live a happy life,” he explains.

Although Charlie had every reason to feel sorry for himself, he’s moving on. He’s still in great shape. He even climbed Mount Everest! And he is still a great father of two little girls and a devoted husband, too. Despite his challenges, somehow he manages to stay positive. “I’m lucky that I’m not in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” Charlie says.

Still, Charlie needs help with everyday tasks. That’s where Service Dog Devon III comes in. Charlie received Devon, free of charge, from Canine Companions for Independence in August. Canine Companions is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

“I have a lower spine injury that makes my left leg go numb so my balance isn’t always what it needs to be,” Charlie explains. “When I’m using my cane and carrying something, having the dog with me to pick up something that I’ve dropped, open a door or hit a light switch is a big day-to-day thing for me when I’m out in public.”

At home, Charlie does not always use his prosthetic leg. “Devon is learning to bring me the prosthesis when I’m sitting on the couch,” explains Charlie. “Sometimes I have a hard time getting up, and Devon can go to my wife to retrieve something and bring it to me. Just having someone with me to help do things that are really difficult or painful for me really affects my life in a positive way!”

Charlie is one of over 100 military veterans who have received assistance dogs from Canine Companions. “Canine Companions assistance dogs are amazing, magical gifts,” says Charlie. “They change people’s lives.”

To learn more about the Veterans Initiative, click here