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  • Assistance Dogs of the West Assistance Dogs of the West


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Mission Statement

Through educational and vocational programs, Assistance Dogs of the West provides trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities in order to increase self-reliance. We teach students to train dogs to help people.


  • Expand the ADW Program to benefit more people with disabilities
  • Teach more students to train more dogs through additional educational and vocational programs in schools, community agencies, rehabilitation facilities and juvenile detention centers
  • Increase community awareness of challenges faced by people with disabilities and the value of assistance dogs


  • Grow to 30 Dogs annually
  • Manage $500K - $750K (3 year goal) Annual Operating Budget
  • New Program Facility - ($2.5M Capital Campaign)
  • Build Program Endowment

We intend to maintain the quality of student training programs, the placement of our dogs with caring, appropriate clients and continuous support to successful client/dog relationships. Our current primary goal is to build the central ADW Training Facility which will house our dogs, student training and client placement housing. The ADW Capital Campaign is active in support of this goal.


Since 1995, Assistance Dogs of the West has been training service dogs for people with physical mobility, psychological and emotional challenges. ADW works with elementary, middle and high schools, teaching students to train assistance dogs who are then placed with waiting clients. After school and summer sessions, pilot programs with juvenile detention centers and our work with adult trainers with developmental disabilities, offer more students the opportunity to learn this valuable skill.

With 11 years of service here in the Northern New Mexico community, ADW has encouraged hundreds of students to learn the value of building relationships, through creating and giving the invaluable gift of an assistance dog to more than 80 clients.

ADW addresses two problems with one program. The first is to provide support for people with disabilities. National statistics define 15% of any demographic area as disabled. ADW receives 300 calls annually from potential clients, unanimously expressing physical needs as well as some feeling of being marginalized from society around them. Assistance dogs help overcome many daily obstacles, and act as social conduits, encouraging increased client connection to the outside world. ADW enables clients to become: more independent, more self confident, equipped with a "tool" for increased personal mobility and environmental safety, and nurtured in their daily lives through the introduction of an unconditional relationship.

Second, our program provides students with an experience that teaches responsibility and compassion. ADW involves students in a meaningful and heartfelt program at an age when they are presented with numerous social challenges; communication and interaction are keystones to our program. ADW students are more likely to develop leadership skills and remain involved in community service as a result of participation in the program.

It goes without saying that some really special dogs get the chance to lead very amazing lives.



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