Canine Assistants, Inc. Overview
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."
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