Physical Assistance Dogs
Making the Impossible ... Possible
Imagine going up to your house one afternoon, you drop your keys. For most of us, this is not a problem. But for someone in a wheelchair who must wait until help comes along, it poses a real challenge.
Now imagine that individual in the wheelchair has a trained service dog who can retrieve the keys and even hold the door open for you. Life is much more manageable and you are no longer dependent on someone else day in and day out to help you with the smallest of tasks.
Our dogs can perform more than 50 tasks: they can pick up objects and deliver them to hand, pull and hold open doors, push buttons and drawers, pay for items in a store, get the phone, open a refrigerator and get an item out, even pull off gloves and socks. Our initial phase of training is “generic” and then the dogs receive customized training in specialized tasks to meet an individual’s specific needs.
One must be 12 years old to apply for a physical assistance dog.
“Two years ago my life changed in an instant when I was paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a motorcycle accident. I have worked incredibly hard to get back to as normal as possible and to not have to rely on others to get through the day. This journey I’ve been on to become fully independent is finally happening and that is because of Jasper and Service Dogs of Virginia. Jasper and I are on our way and everyday gets better and better.”
–Jeffrey Silvester who has Jasper, a physical assistance dog