Jennifer's Story

In 1980, sixteen-year-old Jennifer Arnold woke up one morning unable to walk. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and confined to a wheelchair for two years, she shut down.

Jennifer's father, Harry, made a life-changing suggestion: Get a service dog. After an organization denied their application, they decided to establish Canine Assistants. Tragically, Harry was killed by a drunk driver, postponing their plans.

But Jennifer held fast to her dream, struggling to start Canine Assistants. She eventually secured funding and in 1991, Canine Assistants was officially incorporated. 

"The House That Nick Built"

One day Jennifer spontaneously adopted an emaciated golden retriever from a shelter.

Nick became her "canine soul mate," comforting her through life passages and defining the direction of  Canine Assistants—and Jennifer's life. Because of Nick, Jennifer adopted gentler, more positive reinforcement teaching methods, which mirrored her empathy for the disabled.

Jennifer thinks of Canine Assistants as "The House that Nick Built"—a house filled with family, friends, dogs, and love.