We often take everyday tasks for granted, like driving to work or grabbing our morning cup of coffee. One local man lost the ability to do those simple things on his own, until man’s best friend stepped in.
David Roger is tough as nails. He’s a hard worker who doesn’t like to sit still. He went in for open heart surgery 10 years ago and woke up without his vision.
Thanks to local organization, Paws Giving Independence, he has not slowed down. In fact, he’s done quite the opposite.
If you blink you just might miss the sight of Rogers. He’s on the job and on the move at the Allen Road Walmart in Peoria. But, a closer look at this man and his co-worker, keeping a close eye atop a pillow in the fitting room, is a sight for sore eyes.
Rogers is the voice behind the operation and has been for the last 15 years. When he’s on the job, Colton is, too.
“I’ve accidentally tried to step onto a place, he wouldn’t let me, he cut right in front of me. He would give his life for me, you know. You don’t know that feeling until one day you close your eyes and then you wake up and you don’t see anymore.” Rogers says.
Rogers’ world went dark 10 years ago, but not working was never an option.
“If you stop then you give up. You always trudge ahead. I mean why sit around and feel sorry for yourself and mope when you can work and contribute, you know?” Rogers explains.
You see, it’s just second nature for Rogers because these eyes have seen a lot. Rogers doesn’t talk much about his time serving in Vietnam.
“I had a lot of devastating things and a lot of good things, too.” Rogers says.
Rogers reached out to Paws Giving Independence with a request so simple, he just wanted to to get to the break room to get a cup of coffee.
“That’s all I wanted to do because I’d get lost in here, you know. A stick doesn’t tell you where to go. I would end up over in housewares, I would end up over in produce.” Rogers says.
It didn’t take long to become much more than that.
“I fell in love with him the second I saw him, you know. We connected that quick and he’s done nothing but pure angel work.” Rogers says of Colton.
You could say the same of David, who also saved his four-legged friend.
“They stuck it out in the backyard, put a chain around its neck and let him starve to death.” Rogers says.
Just a man and a dog looking for a little direction, but, together, their vision has never been clearer.
Paws Giving Independence matches service dogs with recipients free of charge, a cost that would normally total up to $20,000. It’s a volunteer-run operation, half of the dogs are trained by students at the Bradley and Illinois State University, the other half by inmates at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln.
To find information on how to support PGI click here.