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Organization Information

Assistance Dog Institute


Your gift helps our students train and place assistance dogs with people with mobility limitations and Veterans with combat-related injuries.

Real Life

13-year-old Makenna came to Bergin University of Canine Studies (BUCS) at the urging of her grandmother, who foresaw that Makenna's disability would require her to have a companion who was willing and eager to help her with the daily tasks that might prove to be more difficult as she grew older. Makenna applied for a service dog and prepared to wait until she was invited to meet her future companion. After learning over 100 commands, Ming was carefully chosen to be Makenna's canine partner. From the moment she was born, Ming received hours of physical and emotional stimulation from dedicated volunteers. At as early as four weeks of age, Ming began hearing training terms and started learning basic commands not long after that. At 12 weeks, Ming went to stay with her puppy parent so she could experience what it was like to live in a home environment. Later, students taught her how to perform valuable tasks such as picking up dropped items and turning a light off, and exposed her to different environments on countless field trips. Those involved in raising and training Ming saw clearly that she would be a great service dog: loyal, smart, and loving. When Ming and Makenna were brought together, it was obvious that theirs was a special bond, exemplifying a human-canine relationship that we know to be thousands of years old. They have become quite the celebrity team at school. Their partnership is an inspiring example of the social bridge that service dogs are for their partners: many people with disabilities feel isolated from their communities. Their dogs often become the best type of icebreaker, bringing people together. Makenna and Ming are truly the perfect pair.