For Marcie, service dog Fenway is a beacon of independence.
“He never gets tired of helping me, no matter how many times I drop my cell phone,” she explains. “He’s as excited as if it is the first time he’s ever assisted me, and the look of joy and satisfaction on his face is priceless.”
Marcie and Fenway are just one of the hundreds of success stories made possible by Assistance Dogs of the West (ADW). Since 1995, the New Mexico non-profit has paired service dogs with clients requiring support for mobility impairments, autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities and more.
More recently, ADW added a courthouse dog program, which places canines in criminal justice settings. In this role, the service dogs work with crime victims, predominantly children, offering comfort and security as they provide depositions and give testimony in court.
“Our service dogs open so many opportunities for the clients they support,” says ADW volunteer Susan Rivenbark. As a Puppy Raiser, Susan has raised and trained five ADW dogs, witnessing first-hand the transformative impact they can have – whether partnered with a single client or selected for ADW’s courthouse dog program.
Long-time client Marcie concurs, noting, “ADW has made a tremendous impact on the overall quality of my life. They breed and train the most incredible dogs that are tailored to my disability-related needs. Fenway and ADW are the rainbow in what could have been a dark cloud.”