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“Sam was like a guardian angel for all of us.” SERVICE DOGS Assistance Dogs International provides a directory of accredited service dog programs around the world.

Assistance Dog United Campaign offers financial assistance vouchers to individuals with disabilities who wish to obtain service dogs from 105 programs around the U. Pet Partners has an extensive directory of service dog trainers, along with information and resources about service animals.

But not many people with MS take advantage of this.

“He gets me up in the morning when the fatigue just completely racks me.” More photos of Jeff Smith and his dog, Colt Click on the thumbnails to view each photo or click the “Play” button to view as a slideshow.Dogged pursuit A variety of nonprofit organizations provide trained service dogs for free or at minimal cost to people with disabilities.When Smith’s hands go numb, Colt carries the house keys or other objects in his mouth.“He picks up on my MS symptoms even before I do,” Smith says.In addition, to help someone with balance or vision issues, a service dog can wear a stiff harness with a handle that the person can grip and use as extra support and guidance when walking.

The dog can also brace a person who is unsteady and help nudge him or her up if he or she falls.The staff also discusses the person’s abilities and challenges with the applicant’s healthcare team.People who don’t qualify tend to lack the necessary cognitive awareness to keep the dog safe, Johnson says—in which case they would need to have someone living with them full-time to oversee care of the dog, just as they would with a companion animal.Soon, Bolster discovered that not only was she feeling better emotionally, but also physically.“Every day, Sam made me get up and focus on him and not my MS,” she says.“Colt stays glued to my side when I’m walking and makes me feel more stable,” he says.