Mobility Assistance Dog

Mobility Assistance Dogs increase the independence of a person who uses a wheelchair, has trouble standing, and/or with ambulating. They perform tasks such as retrieving dropped items and opening doors.

Ben retrieves items dropped on the floor

These dogs are valuable assets for the person returning to the work force or school because they decrease dependence on other people. When the dog-human team is out and about in the community, a definite change in the way the general public perceives disability, is readily seen. 

For hundreds of years our government has held a “hands off” policy regarding people with disabilities and until recently, as a society, we have successfully hidden people from the general population.

Founder Karen Shirk (left) says, “As a person who has a Mobility Assistance Dog partner. I have often said that Ben makes my disability “invisible”. Before I had Ben, no one would approach me to start up a conversation and in stores people went out of their way to avoid me. Now, with Ben at my side, it could take me an hour just to get milk, because of everyone stopping me to inquire about Ben.”

Note: Ben is no longer alive, and Karen Shirk is no longer confined to a wheelchair.

Watch Videos on Mobility Service Dogs

Pushing the pawprint means help is just a paw away! (The pawprint activates an alarm system the parents carries with them)

Some Things Mobility Service Dogs Provide

Open that door!

  • Retrieve dropped items
  • Bring the phone
  • Turn lights on and off
  • Carry items in a dog backpack
  • Get a parent in the home
  • Open doors in the home
  • Hit open doors buttons in public
  • Hit the elevator buttons
  • Assist with undressing by pulling on clothing
  • Open drawers and cabinets
  • Provide emotional and spiritual support
  • Pulling a wheelchair chair up inclines and ramps, and for short distances

Mobility Assistance Dog Alvin flies to visit his 4 year old recipient in Minneapolis, Service Dogs are allowed on all forms of public transportation. When they fly on an airplane, they are allowed to sit in the cabin with their partner.

Who Benefits From The Use Of A Mobility Assistance Dog?

Clair and Mobililty Assistance dog, Xavier (Maryland 2006)

Mobility Assistance Dogs can benefit children with a variety of disabilities, including but not limited to:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Arthritis
  • Spina Bifida
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Balance problems (Ataxia)