Canine support companions help people with disabilities succeed in many environments, and at the University of Colorado Boulder, a service dog is enabling a wounded military veteran to pursue his dream of hands-on research in neuroscience.
Xenna is a service dog for Navy veteran Jon Coulson. The 1 ½-year-old dog with a sable-colored coat helps Coulson manage his severe pain and anxiety. She will soon be allowed in neuroscience labs at CU Boulder, paving the way for service dogs in the future.
Coulson is a senior with a double major in neuroscience and molecular, cellular and developmental biology who works in the neuroscience lab of Distinguished Professor Linda Watkins.
“People with service animals have typically shied away from a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree because of potentially dangerous lab environments,” Coulson said. “But a STEM environment is why I decided to come to CU. I want to solve the (accessibility) problem or at least have a hand in it.”
Along the way, both of them, with help from CU Boulder, pave the way for greater accessibility.