Riley and Henry

Riley and Henry


Over the years, Assistance Dogs staff have witnessed many pairs join forces through our program, but few have had quite the instant connection we’ve seen with Riley and Henry.

The two met in June 2018 and become enamored with each other from the start. For Riley and his family, life before Henry is hard to remember. Henry and Riley put into practice everything they learned during the two weeks of team training, perfecting physical tasks while Henry provided emotional support. Their lives have meshed together and built an irreplaceable bond. Riley has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Since graduation, Henry has been by his side ready to pick up dropped items and hit access buttons to open doors while out and about.

Through our specialized training, we match our dogs to fit the needs of the client. In this case, Henry checked all the boxes.


Henry calms Riley during stressful situations and anxious trips to the doctors. Riley’s mother explains, “People come up to Riley and ask about his dog. This gives Riley an opportunity to speak to others when he wouldn’t otherwise have the option. Henry is helping Riley to build life skills.”

During an intense video game, Riley doesn’t have to stop and yell for mom if the controller falls, Henry grabs the controller and, gets back to gaming. A sense of comfort and security is felt by the family whenever Henry is around.


Longtime Ability Center board member, Malcolm Richards and his wife Peggy, funded a Puppy Sponsorship for Henry through their company, Supplemental Staffing.


It takes many hands and hearts to develop a successful assistance dog and Assistance Dogs has no shortage of dedicated fosters. Riley’s mom shares, “Henry's fosters have helped Henry grow into the wonderful, smart, and loving dog he is. They shaped his life and love, which tells us they are dedicated and loving families. Thank you for helping raise Henry for Riley. You will always be a part of our lives.”