Assistance Dogs of The West
Through educational and vocational programs, Assistance Dogs of the West provides trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities to increase independence and self-reliance. We teach students to train dogs to help people.
In Santa Fe, NM over 250 student trainers each year are developing heart filled human and animal friendships while creating a better world. ADW was founded in 1995 with the core value of respect for the unique abilities of human beings and animals. Over the past 14 years, more than 1300 New Mexico middle/high school students, juvenile detention/treatment center occupants, physically and developmentally disabled youth and adults have learned to help train service dogs with ADW. In school, after school and summer programs match student trainers and dogs in a focused learning environment; 5 educational programs take place in Albuquerque, 2 in Rio Arriba County and 11 in Santa Fe.
This work enriches our community in a quiet, profound way. More than 300 potential clients call or email every year, 40 active on a wait list. Whether disabled from birth, accident or illness, each one expresses some feeling of being marginalized from the world around them. New assistance dog owners become more independent and self reliant, equipped with a “tool” for increased mobility and environmental safety, and more emotionally secure with a non-judgmental 24/7 loving relationship.
Trained Assistance, Seizure, Psychiatric, Social Therapy and Facility dogs are carefully matched with clients across NM thru an extensive interview, assessment and 2 yr follow up process. 35 dogs in training allow for 12-15 client placements each year. Owner/self training classes are also offered.