Assistance Dogs of the West’s compassionate training approach facilitates the deepest possible bond between humans and animals, and models best practices in social-relationship interactions.

Our History

With the core value of respect for the singular bond between humans and dogs and their unique ability to work together as a team, Jill Felice (Program Director) founded Assistance Dogs of the West in 1995.

Qualities of kindness, gentleness and respect in training dogs to assist humans define everything that we do. This compassionate training approach facilitates the deepest possible bond between humans and animals. ADW’s programs model best practices in social-relationship interactions.

The keystone of ADW’s program is teaching diverse student populations to support the work of professional dog trainers. Encouraging youth leadership is vital to who we are.

In the dog-training process, quality and quantity of learning are served. Every ADW dog learns a minimum of 90 commands. Additional training that educates dogs to serve complex disabilities such as medical alert and PTSD have expanded our programs, and continue to help us build community and empower diverse populations. Success story upon success story describe the commitment and love ADW dogs bring to our clients’ lives.

We also have accepted new opportunities to extend our knowledge into settings that have distinctive needs for ADW dogs.

For more than six years, we have trained facility dogs for work in professional group settings from private therapeutic practices, to drug treatment centers, to college campuses, to judicial districts. Wherever they serve in our program spectrum, ADW dogs reflect our commitment to fostering compassion as the hallmark of leadership and positive social change.

When the idea of introducing a Courthouse Dog to our Children's Advocacy Center was first discussed, my reaction was, "it will be kind of cool to have a dog running around the Center." Little did I know the difference Russell would make for our children, staff, and community. Russell can accomplish tasks in minutes what would take our highly educated and experienced staff an hour to achieve.

Kathy Rau, Executive Director, Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center