When you see Mike and Quality side by side in the city of Madison, you see the results of a service dog team in action. Mike was one year old when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He earned his BS in Therapeutic Recreation, and has had a very active lifestyle despite the fact that his disability affects his speech and motor movements. Mike found that as he got older, he was having more difficulty retrieving dropped items, such as keys, bus passes, and books. He wanted to maintain as much independence as possible.
Mike worked hard with WAGS staff and trainers to teach Quality to understand his spoken commands and gestures, and they were placed as a team in October of 2002. Quality goes to work with Mike every day. They ride Madison Metro buses, and maneuver around the community with ease. The bond between Mike and Quality makes it possible for her to serve him in ways that no one could have imagined. Quality once barked on command until a police officer was alerted. The officer then freed Mike’s wheelchair from a mud hole near a construction site.
Quality helps Mike get undressed at night so he can get into bed without an attendant present. She provides him with physical support, companionship, and security. She has given him a renewed energy and focus in his life. He states that he feels in increased confidence and security being out in the community with Quality by his side. Mike has just finished building a home in Madison to share with his best friend, Quality, so that he can make even more of his dreams come true.