San Antonio dog groomer paralyzed in rollover makes comeback

Clara Nanez was surprised with $1,000 for inspiring others after a life-altering accident that left her paralyzed (KABB)

SAN ANTONIO - A life-altering accident left a 22-year-old dog groomer unable to do what she loves most of all. But Clara Nanez’s determination, positivity and love for animals have been inspiring people in ways she never imagined.

Ron Garcia said he wouldn't take his Doxiepoo to anyone but Lucky Dog Wash Waggin' where Nanez works. It's a pet salon and mobile grooming business based on the Southwest Side. Nanez helped start the business several years ago.

“So, us finding a great groomer for Barcardi, that would treat her like we treat her, was very important to us," Garcia explained.

But Nanez hasn’t been able to groom Bacardi or any other dog for the past several months. That’s because she was severely injured in a single-vehicle rollover accident last March. It happened near I-37 and SE Military Dr. where she unbuckled her seatbelt to reach for a cell phone she dropped.

Nanez was left paralyzed from the chest down.

"I was terrified for her,” Reyna Castillo, owner of Lucky Dog Wash Waggin’ said. “I was really scared for her."

She considers Nanez like family.

“It's hard for someone with an injury like this to just wake up and get through the day, let alone continue with her dream," she told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf.

But like any good partner, friend or family—you stick together. Castillo has made adjustments at the business to help accommodate Nanez's new wheelchair. She had a makeshift ramp built in the back entrance of the building. Nanez wanted to return to help with office work in between her extensive physical therapy.

Garcia can’t believe her determination and spirit. She wanted Nanez to know that she’s an inspiration.

“I think CASH FOR KINDNESS recognizes those that are down and may think that nobody may realize what they're going through,” he told Wolf. “So, I just wanted her to have a breath of goodness. She deserves it."

Fox San Antonio selected his online nomination, and Wolf setup a surprise for Nanez on one of her first days back on the job.

Garcia and Wolf found her in a back room using a laptop near some grooming tables.

“Hello! Wolf said as he introduced himself. “I’m Ryan Wolf with Fox San Antonio. It's nice to see you.”

Nanez had a look of shock on her face. “What's this?" she said with a nervous laugh.

That's when Garcia walked into the room to reveal what he had done.

“Hello!” he said to her with a smile. “How are you? I wanted to recognize you today and let San Antonio know what kind of individual you are, and what an inspiration you are to me and many other people. We all miss you. We miss your skill sets that you brought to our furry babies. And we just wanted to recognize you and give you lots of love."

Nanez broke down in tears.

“Why are you getting emotional right now?” Wolf asked her.

“Because my clients are amazing,” she said before wiping her tears.

Nanez said she doesn't remember the accident, only waking up without the use of her legs. She vowed to get back to doing what she loves.

“They made adjustments at a table for me so I can start grooming again,” she tearfully explained.

Wolf asked her to put out her hand. He pulled out a stack of $100 bills.

“$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000,” Nanez counted.

“This is CASH FOR KINDNESS on behalf of Fox San Antonio,” Wolf explained. “How does it make you feel to know that you’re loved so much?”

“It feels good,” she said. “It makes me feel like I have a purpose."

“Why do you say that?” Wolf asked.

“Because I almost died 3 times, and I wasn't ready to go,” she said. “There's some purpose for me here."

She planned to use her $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award to help pay some of the mounting medical bills.

Click here if you would like to help the business with improved wheelchair accessibility.

Click here to nominate someone you know for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.


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