Physical Assistance Dogs

Making the Impossible … Possible

service dog opening a door for woman in motorized chairCaroline was 11 years old when she came home from school in tears because she could not keep up with her classmates. A diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy was the last thing her parents expected and by high school Caroline was in a wheelchair full-time.

Donnie was driving home on a snowy evening with poor visibility, unable to see a horse that had broken out of his enclosure and standing in the middle of the road. Donnie hit the horse, which landed on the roof of his car, crushing him inside. Donnie became a quadriplegic.

Whether a person’s medical condition is caused by an accident or a hereditary disability, a physical assistance dog can open doors literally and figuratively, and do so much more for a person confined to a wheelchair.

Our dogs are trained to pick up dropped items, retrieve items from the fridge, get help when needed – even pick up the phone when it rings and give it to their person or help with the laundry. Daily activities that most of us take for granted are a major hardship for a person with physical limitations. A service dog can help create greater freedom and independence.

I was born with cerebral palsy and do not have full use of my hands and I am a full time user of a power wheel chair. I work from home and having a service dog means I have help retrieving items I drop or cannot reach, getting items from the refrigerator, opening doors, and more. I also have peace of mind because I am never alone.

I had an idea what it would be like to have a service dog, but now that I have Judith, I realize she does much more than I expected. She is a service dog but she is also a best friend. She is a great source of company when I am alone during the day working from home. She is also a wonderful stress reliever when I am having a bad day. — Laura with her physical assistance dog Judith