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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Education, Educational Services, Human Services

Mission: Our founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Arnold, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a teenager and spent two years using a wheelchair. It was a difficult time for her as she felt isolated, alone, and dependent on those around her. Her father, a physician in Atlanta, heard about an organiztion that trained service dogs to help people in wheelchairs. The program, which was located in California, had a long waiting list and worked mainly with those in their own region, so her father decided to start a similar program in Georgia. Three weeks after the first planning meeting for Canine Assistants, her father was hit and killed by a drunk driver while he was taking a walk. Determined to accomplish her dream and complete what her father had started, it took Jennifer and her mother ten years of hard work and dedication to open the program. Fortunately, Jennifer no longer needs a wheelchair, yet she fully understands the needs and concerns of others with physical disabilities. We no longer want people with disabilities to feel isolated and dependant on others. The dogs trained at Canine Assistants can turn lights on and off, open doors, pull wheelchairs retrieve dropped objects, summon help, and provide secure companionship. Yet, even more important than the physical skills they possess, is their ability to eliminate feelings of fear isolation, and loneliness felt by their companions. One Canine Assistants' recipient made the value of this skill quite clear when asked by a reporter what she like most about her service dog, immediately she responded, "My service dog makes my wheelchair disappear."

Programs: Animal training to assist individuals who have physical disabilities and other special needs; community awareness and outreach programs.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

We waited for years to receive a dog for our teen daughter and we could not have been happier being a receipiant of a service dog for our child with epilepsy - daily seizures. The organization is professional, they have huge hearts and they get so many things donated... airline tickets, food to serve the families, community volunteers, etc. They work tirelessly to help families. They put families through a great training program for 2 weeks at no cost to the families. There is really no comparable organization on the East Coast to CA! They deserve accolades for bringing joy, comfort and happiness to those with disabilities who are dog lovers. My daughter is passionate about her dog and whenever she feels a seizure coming on, she goes to him. It is true love and companionship. We are eternally grateful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

This review is on behalf of a family who went through a two year process to get a dog for their child with seizures. After this long process they were told they were not eligible to receive a dog. This notification came in a form letter with no specifics as to why they were deemed ineligible. I think the organization does wonderful work, but they need to be specific in their rejections. How else will this family (English a second language) know what actions they might take to be acceptable to another organization? Child is now 16 and has been suffering seizures for ten years. All their hope for getting somewhere near a normal life was in getting one of these wonderful dogs and they do not know why. I am told by a staff member that something during the home visit caused the decision to be negative, but the family was never told what this is.

Review from Guidestar

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Jennifer Arnold has a real talent with her dogs and a passion for helping the folks who need them. It is a well run program. I highly recommend supporting them with donations and volunteering your time. The volunteer program is tough, but those dogs are valuable and have important jobs waiting on them. I have taken Girl Scouts there for tours and Canine Assistants were very gracious. I am looking forward to a time when my schedule allows me to volunteer my time as well as donations.