LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

A graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is getting a little extra help from a local non-profit.

Ryan Nell has cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair since he was a child.

On Friday, Capable Canines of Wisconsin was able to present Nell with a service dog.

He can use his dog to help him gain some independence during his everyday life.

The service dog, who is named Wally, can help Nell pick up things he drops, open doors, and even turn lights on and off. "I think an important part of this is that although a service dog is a tool, he's also a companion and I think it would be foolish to say that I don't enjoy that. I think Wally's going to be a really great companion and I'm really excited for that part too," said Nell.

Wally will accompany Nell wherever he goes, including campus, going to work, and spending time with him at home. 

The La Crosse community helped Nell raise funds towards the cost of the dog.