By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Turning loss into hope and help for others, with a special anniversary today. Patients at Magee Rehabilitation in Philadelphia have a new service dog in memory of a young women who loved animals.
Twenty-one-year-old Casey Feldman was killed three years ago today by a distracted driver. Her parents created a foundation in her memory to help support people in need and dogs. On the anniversary of her death, her parents dedicated a day of service.
Ford, the service dog, helps with gardening tools at Magee Rehabilitation.
“Casey would be so thrilled. I know she’s looking down on us now.” said her father Joel Feldman.
Casey’s parents created a foundation in her name that supports her passions: animals and helping those in need.
“It gives us great gratification to know that something good is coming out of such a horrific tragedy.” says mom Dianne Anderson.
This service day for Casey is focused on helping with the gardens and more at Magee. The foundation is also supporting Ford, Magee’s first facility dog program.
Patient Nina Werner says, “He really helps me with therapy.” Nina, who has a spinal cord injury, says physical therapy is more fun and challenging with Ford. “He’s added motivation,” she says.
Ford is specially trained to work with patients. Among the dozens of commands he can follow: turning light switches, opening doors and he can even pull off a sock.
“I know Casey would have hugged Ford,” said Casey’s dad.
It’s an unspeakable loss, but Casey’s parents call this anniversary of her death an “Angelversary,” to remember and honor their angel – who loved dogs and giving back.
“I think her life is making a difference and that makes me happy,” her dad said.
Patients and staff at Magee are also happy for all the help they’re getting from the foundation and especially for Ford, who is beloved.