Ross and Denver

Ross and Denver

Ross’s story begins with a passion for dogs. He spent ten years volunteering for a local dog organization called Agility Angels. In this role, Ross gained experience with dog training and agility and was appointed a member of their board, providing valued feedback to the organization.

With a certification of completion from Animal Behavioral College, it was evident that Ross’s future career would somehow include his love for canines. Not only did Ross enjoy preparing dogs to serve others, he was interested in having an assistance dog of his own.

Fast-forward to a mutual friend introducing Ross to Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) and sharing information about a job opening as a Kennel Assistant. It wasn’t long before Ross called ADAI his place of employment.

Considering his love for animals and his new position within ADAI, Ross and his family decided it was time to open their home to a therapy dog that would impact Ross in many ways. Denver, a smooth-coated collie, reduces anxiety and stress in his daily life.

Parents Mark and Sandy, and his brother Davis, have all benefitted greatly from Denver being in the house. Family time is centered around Ross and Denver playing fetch and taking walks through Ottawa Hills where the family lives.

Ross says, “Denver helps me to become more sociable by starting conversations with people who want to talk about my dog. He teaches responsibility by taking care of him; walking, feeding, grooming and learning his habits. He offers me the opportunity to have a friend and to have companionship. Since having him, I know he has helped me with my anxiety. I feel like he is a part of me that has been missing. I look forward to many happy years with Denver.”

Ross is a living example of ADAI’s mission fulfilled. Denver creates a new world for Ross, flipping his mood to calm and relaxed when his anxiety worsens. “He can sense when I have a bad day. He is a great dog, I can trust him.”

He is grateful to have come full circle within the organization and be on the receiving end of the life-changing programming at ADAI.

Denver was obtained from breeder Louise Torkelson and fostered by Barb Wilbert-Howe.

Ross and Denver were supported by Mcintosh and Scaife Grants.