Ann and Sprocket

Ann Van Nort and her husband Geoff live in Sandusky, Ohio with their tight-knit family of three grown children and four grandchildren. In fall 2017, a new member was added to the clan. Sprocket, a black Labrador retriever changed the Van Nort family forever.

A retired middle school teacher and former triathlete, Ann is aware of the balance between patience and perseverance in any situation. In 2012, Ann experienced a spinal cord injury that affected her ability to walk. Her day to day life shifted, but her spirit never altered. Ann focuses on staying active in her book clubs, riding her recumbent bicycle, dining at local restaurants and babysitting her four-year-old grandson. These activities keep Ann busy, but she lacked a spark her in life.



Angel and Kia

Angel Milligan lives with her husband Kevin and son, Andrew, in Marion, Ohio. Angel endured a brain stem stroke that impacted her speech as well as her ability to walk. After years of searching for a program that would bring independence back into her life, Angel discovered Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, a program of The Ability Center, and found exactly what she desired.



Michael and Lilly

Michael is an extremely active young boy involved in swimming, horseback riding, and occupational and music therapy. He is also living with autism. Michael's parents shared with ADAI, "We believe that a therapy dog will help our son by giving him responsibility and therapy by improving Michael's capacity for self-care." Lilly, a two-year-old black Labrador retriever, will engage in all of Michael's activities, making him feel comfortable and supported. Michael's parents say, "More than anything, we have noticed that Michael has a special love for dogs and his behavior improves with a dog around." ADAI can't wait to see what Lilly and Michael achieve together! Michael and his family live in Perrysburg, OH. Michael and Lilly were particularly funded by the following grants:



Daniel and Hudson

Daniel served in the Air Force for six years as a military canine handler, and has owned pets for most of his life. Daniel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003. "A service dog would richly add to my overall quality of life, and make it easier for me to function out in public," he shares. Daniel will embrace a new lifestyle when he welcomes Hudson, a two-year-old yellow Labrador retriever into his home and heart. Hudson will help Daniel open doors, help pick up dropped items, and assist him in case of an emergency. "I will provide love, shelter, and companionship, and in return, Hudson will enhance my quality of life," shares Daniel, of Toledo, OH.



Rachele and Roscoe

Rachele, from Ravenna, OH, lives with spina bifida, but she does not let it slow her down. An animal lover, she is active in horseback riding, plays softball, and enjoys riding her bike. Roscoe is a two-year-old black Labrador retriever who will pick up dropped items, grab the phone, and open and close doors. He will also aid in relieving the anxiety she feels at night time. Rachele says, "Roscoe will help calm me when I feel afraid, and help me with doors and be my constant friend. I can't wait to play with, love, and take care of my dog!" ADAI is grateful to provide Rachele a fresh outlook on life. Rachele and Roscoe were supported by following grants:



Becky and April

Welcoming an assistance dog into her home was both a rewarding and challenging thought for Becky Jackett. Becky, who has muscular dystrophy, reveals why being connected to Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) is so life changing; “Having a service dog gives me motivation and purpose throughout the day when my family is working or in school. In public, I feel more sure of myself. Before applying, she embraced the responsibility of what was to come, and understood the impact a service dog would have on her life.”



Emma and Penny

At The Ability Center, our Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) Program matches qualified dogs with people who desire more independence, freedom, and access in their life. Emma Felker was no stranger to the benefits that having a service dog could bring to her life. Emma’s first dog Diego was matched with her in 2009. As Diego grew older, Emma realized she still needed love and physical assistance that Diego could no longer provide. In spring of 2017, Penny entered the picture and Emma’s life was forever changed. Training was unique to their team, specializing in what Emma needed most.



Lloyd and Scout

Lloyd is a young adult living with autism. Born and raised in South Euclid, Ohio, he works as a Material Handler at the East Cleveland

Adult Day Center. Lloyd describes the best part about his job is assisting and interacting with other people. At work, Lloyd identifies and separates defective parts of various items. Lloyd assists other co-workers with lifting, carrying, and labeling finished products to be delivered or shipped. While he’s not working, he dances, listens to music, and watches Barney videos.



Valerie and Spring

When Valerie Reed was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, she wasn’t sure where to turn, but she knew when she found Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, she discovered what she was searching for.

Valerie uncovers how her dog Spring impacts her life, “She assists me getting out of bed and my chair, getting dressed, retrieving items, and picking up pieces I dropped. My dog provides independence and a sense of happiness and life to my home.”



Susan and Franklin

When Susan began to experience challenges after begin diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence answered the call for help. Cody made it possible for me to accomplish more without the help of others," Susan shares of her of her first service dog. Susan relied on Cody to hit her emergency call button, retrieve exactly all the ways my first service dog Cody impacted myself and my family's lives. I had been an active nurse and mom prior to my first MS attack, which left me wheelchair dependent and feeling useless and helpless. Cody and I became partners in the spring class in 2007 and he was with me through both difficult and amazing times. With him, I became much more independent at home and in public.



Megan and Wixey

Diagnosed at birth with Ataxia, Megan struggled with balance issues and fine motor skills. Megan's mother wrote in to ADAI, sharing how a service dog would improve her daily life. She wrote, "Megan currently has difficulty with stepping up curbs and opening doors-things a service dog could help with. I also believe a dog could help Megan with her social skills by involving her in conversations where she has something fun and of such great interest to talk about."



Brenda and Rainn

When Brenda first wrote in to ADAI to apply for a service dog, she caught the attention of the staff immediately. In her application, Brenda shared, "I have been a public speaker and social person for many years. Since landing in a chair I have felt separated from others in so many different ways. It would be nice to be able to go out in public without having to worry about someone helping me with a door, or picking something up off the ground. Having a service dog would help to restore and maintain my dignity."