(KMOV)-- Half a dozen people in wheelchairs or with other physical or mental disabilities have a new friend and helper. Support Dogs, Inc, which has an office in West St. Louis County, is about to change some lives for the better.
I was at the building Thursday for the final practice session with the dogs and their people. They'd been working together and bonding for a couple of weeks.
Dogs picked up cell phones with their mouths and brought them to their owner's laps. They pulled on a rope attached to a refrigerator door to open it... receiving plenty of praise for every job well done.
Support Dogs, Inc is a non-profit that relies on donations to train the dogs. People who need a service dog can call United Way at 2-1-1 in St. Louis to get things rolling.
It doesn't happen over night. I talked to Meagan Minster who came down from Wisconsin to train with her new dog, a black lab named "Branson." She's 20-years-old and has a degenerative condition that put her in a wheelchair in her teens. The University of Wisconsin student told me she used to dance, but has a very postive outlook and is very happy to have a service dog help her be less reliant on strangers. She's waited a year for this.
"He'll be a great help for me, " Meagan told me. "My arms aren't the strongest so he'll be able to open doors and pick things up that used to be a lot more challenging."
For more on Support Dogs, Inc check out www.supportdogs.org.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.