The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. Records, 1986-2007

MSS-175

Size: 5 linear feet

Provenance: Donated by Chris Diefenthaler, executive director, on behalf of Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. in May 2003.

Access: open

Related Collections: Collection is part of the Regional Disability History Archive Project

Processing Note:  None

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by: Deborah Marinski, July 2003

 

Biographical/Historical Sketch

            Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. was founded in 1984 as the Guide Dogs for the Handicapped, Inc. by Joe and Pamela “Sam” Maxwell in Columbus, Ohio.  “Sam” Maxwell began the organization by training dog Abby for her husband, who was a quadriplegic.  Joe also assisted in training several dogs.  The purpose of the Guide Dogs for the Handicapped was to “provide specially trained dogs and/or adaptive equipment that aid the handicapped, enabling them to become more independent.”  The organization was also concerned with educating recipients about dogs and educating the public about disabilities and the program.  In 1986 the first Board of Directors was created with twenty-two members, and in 1987 the organization obtained 501 (C) (3) tax exemption status.  The group became registered at local, state, and federal levels and began to expand its name and message to the nation.

            The name formally changed in 1989 to Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. (ADAI).  The Board of Directors voted to change the name because the word “handicapped” was seen as offensive, primarily concerned with an individual’s limitation, and politically incorrect.  The group wanted to recognize people as individual beings, not as disabled.  Also, guide dogs referred largely to the visually impaired, which was not the concentration of the program.  Also in 1989 the ADAI received a new home.  The National Training Headquarters was moved to Swanton, Ohio, about 20 miles west of Toledo.  The owner, Richard Ransom, donated half the cost of the property and the Kiwanis of Toledo paid for the other half.  The property was situated on 2 ¾ acres with a twenty-two kennel run, grooming areas, isolation spots, insulated and air conditioned kennels, an out-building for training, and a six bedroom, four bathroom house that provided offices and quarters for live-in staff.  In 1995 the property was paid off and the deed handed to the Kiwanis who leased the facilities to ADAI for $1.00 a year.  Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s the organization continued to grow and expand on the local, state, and national levels.  Besides the Toledo chapter, another was established in Pontiac, Illinois, and others were trying to organize in Texas and Wisconsin.  In 1991 a National Headquarters was set up in Columbus, Ohio, and in 1996 an executive office was created in Florida.  The non-profit organization became nationally renowned for its help to disabled individuals.

            The clients of ADAI are individuals with mobility problems or those who have multiple disabilities.  Recipients may suffer from a variety of diseases including ataxia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, poliomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, spina bifida, and stroke while others have suffered accidental trauma or are disabled veterans.  The hearing impaired may be given dogs, but the visually impaired are not unless they have other physical problems as well.  Some dogs are used as therapy dogs in nursing homes, as companions to the elderly, or may be given to Easter Seals children.  The ADAI wants to give people facing a variety of disabilities more independence, mobility, and a better quality of life.

            The dogs provided are generally Labradors, Golden Retrievers, or mixes of the two; however, other large breeds such as collies, shepards, greyhounds, and Great Danes have been approved for use.  These dogs come from animal shelters, humane societies, pounds, breeders, and pet owners.  Some have been abused or abandoned while others were slated for destruction.  After a lengthy training program some of these dogs move on to become great companions and help to disabled people.  Some dogs, however, are not up to ADAI quality and go on to become family pets or narcotic sniffing dogs.  The dogs that do pass the six-month training period are capable of many functions.  For the hearing impaired the dogs are trained to alert their owners to situations like fire or smoke alarms, telephones, doorbells, alarm clocks, or crying children.  Other dogs specialize in answering phones, helping with balance in walking, carrying books and small packages, dressing and undressing, getting food from shelves and refrigerators, getting help in emergencies, going up and down stairs, opening doors, operating elevators, covering with blankets, pulling oxygen carts, pulling wheelchairs if stuck, picking up dropped items, turning on and off appliances, and turning lights on and off.  Once a specific dog is matched with a recipient, the dog is trained for the individual’s specific needs.  Typically, dogs will stay with their owners 10-12 years.  The dogs support the recipients and provide companionship.

            Training is a critical step in the program.  Dogs go through a series of stages to final placement.  The first 10-14 days consists of observation of behavior and health check-ups.  Once approved the dogs are placed in a foster home for 2-6 months of training.  Foster parents are responsible for teaching basic obedience commands, socialization skills, housebreaking, and getting them used to public spaces.  Foster homes are also required to provide a safe, clean, and loving environment.  After foster training the dogs return to the facility for a 7-10 day training sessions with their recipient.  Once the dog and recipient pass the class, they have a three-month probationary period and frequent follow-up visits.  Finally, owners must pass a public certification exam to receive full ownership of the dogs.

            ADAI is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and fundraisers to pay for the daily operations.  Individuals who receive a dog do not pay for the animal.  Various clubs, organizations, associations, fraternities and sororities, corporations, and hospitals are useful resources.  These groups sponsor dogs, giving money, training facilities, living spaces, and time to the program.

            Besides providing dogs for the disabled, ADAI provides some community services in order to educate the community about disabilities.  ADAI gives demonstrations and lectures free of charge at schools, churches, libraries, and organizations.  They try to convey the bonds created between owner and dog, how to care properly for pets, and how the program works.  Community outreach is an important part of the program.

            ADAI is an organization that benefits the physically disabled in a very positive way by providing them with dogs as helpers and companions.  The group continues to grow and expand the number of dog s they place each year and allowing more disabled people to have a better life.  

Scope and Content Note

            The records of Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. date from the first board meeting in 1986 to 2002.  These years have extensive documentation through administrative records, financial information, photographs, printed materials, videos, tax information, property information, meeting minutes, training reports, applicants and board member profiles, donations, fundraisers, by-laws, correspondence, newspapers, and newsletters. 

            The collection is broken into four series, each arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.  Series I, Administrative Records, describe the daily functions of the group.   This series includes annual meeting information, by-laws, applicant and board member profiles, correspondence, foster home instruction and applicants, legal issues, board of directors minutes, press releases, restructuring information, and training reports.  Series II, Financial Records, documents the various facets of funding the program.  Included in this series is information on donations, fundraisers, grant applications, property agreements, and tax information.  Series 3, Printed Materials, include newsletters, fact sheets, historical information, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and policy manuals.  Series 4, Audiovisual Materials, include many photographs and a variety of videotapes.

Series List

S1

Administrative Records

1986-2002, 2.5 linear ft.

Arranged alphabetically then chronologically

Includes annual meeting information from 1989 to 1991, applicants and board member profiles, application information, elections and resignations, by-laws and constitution, correspondence, foster home information, job descriptions, legal issues, chapter information, product information, name change, publication information, and board of director minutes, which include training reports, announcements, invitations, amendments, executive director reports, volunteer reports, developmental reports, and some financial budgets.

 

S2

Financial Records

1986-2002, .25 linear ft.

Arranged alphabetically then chronologically

Includes information on spending and funding through fundraisers, donations, grant applications, property agreements, insurance, invoices, tax information, monthly budgets, and yearly spending reports.

 

S3

Printed Materials

1986-2002, .25 linear ft.

This series shows the formation, history, policies, and affect of the program on its recipients through newsletters, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, fact sheets, and policy manuals.

 

S4

Audiovisual Materials

1986-2002, 2 linear feet

Photographs and videotapes show the facilities, dogs, recipients, events, and volunteers of the program.  Most of the photographs are unidentified.  The photographs have been divided into major categories by subject.

 

Folder List

Box

Folder

Arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

S1 Administrative Records

 

 

 

1

1

Annual meeting, 1988

 

2

Annual meeting and anniversary, 1989

 

3

Annual meeting, 1990

 

4

Annual meeting, 1991

 

5

Application information, 1993-94

 

6

Applicants, 1989-96

 

7

Articles of Incorporation, 1987

 

8

Assistance Dogs International, 1989-91

 

9

Better business bureau, 1993

 

10

Board member profiles, 1992-2001

 

11

Board nominations/elections and resignations, 1989, 1994

 

12

By-laws, 1989-2001

 

13

Certificates of appreciation, 1996-97

 

14

Columbus Chamber of Commerce reports, 1987-90

 

15

Constitution

 

16

Correspondence, 1989, 1993-94, 2008

 

17

Disability needs and services, 1986-91

 

18

Foster home information, 1993-2001

 

19

Governor’s proclamations, 1990-91

 

20

Job descriptions, 1995-2001

 

21

Legal issues, 1992-93

 

22

List of officers and board members, 1989- 2001

 

23

Kiser personnel file, 1987, 1992

 

24

Mayor’s proclamations, 1988, 1990, 1991

 

25

Minutes, Board of Directors, September-December, 1986

 

26

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1987

 

27

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1987

 

28

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1988

 

29

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1988

 

30

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1989

 

31

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1989

 

32

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1990

 

33

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1990

2

34

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1991

 

35

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1991

 

36

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1992

2

37

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-August, 1992

 

38

Minutes, Board of Directors, September-December, 1992

 

39

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1993

 

40

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1993

 

41

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1994

 

42

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1994

 

43

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1995

 

44

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1995

 

45

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1996

 

46

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1996

 

47

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1997

 

48

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1997

 

49

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1998

 

50

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1998

 

51

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 1999

 

52

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 1999

 

53

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 2000

 

54

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 2000

 

55

Minutes, Board of Directors, January-June, 2001

 

56

Minutes, Board of Directors, July-December, 2001

 

57

Minutes, Board of Directors, 2002

3

58

Miscellaneous, 1993-94

 

59

National Assistance Dog Awareness Week, 1989-91

 

60

Ohio Revised Code

 

61

Pontiac, Ill. Chapter – Guide Dogs for the Handicapped, Inc., 1987-89

 

62

Presentation requests, 1994

 

63

Press releases, 1992, 2001

 

64

Product information, 1993-94

 

65

Publications, 1993

 

66

Recipient correspondence, 1987-97

 

67

Recipient and dog profiles

 

68

Restructuring, 1986 – Name change

 

69

Training Information, 1993-94

 

70

Secretary of State fillings, 1989-90

 

71

Toledo Museum of Art, 2000

 

72

Website, 1999

 

 

 

 

 

S2. Financial Records

 

 

 

 

73

Balloon lift-off, 1989

 

74

Bethel Road property rental agreement, 1992

 

75

Donations, 1989-2001

 

76

Fundraising, 1990-2002

 

77

Golf classic, 2000-01

 

78

Grant applications – business donations, 1993-94

3

79

Insurance, 1993-94

 

80

Invoices, 1994

 

81

“May Day at Muirfield” Dinner/Auction, 1989

 

82

Swanton property rental agreement, 1989-94

 

83

Tax papers, 1993-95

 

84

Walking events

 

 

 

 

 

S3. Printed Materials

 

 

 

 

85

Assistance Dogs International Newsletter, 1988-89

 

86

History and information

 

87

Information/Fact Sheet

 

88

Newsletter, Hearts in Harness, 1987, 1995-2002

 

95

Newsletter, Wags & Wheels, Spring/Summer & Fall 2006, Spring/Summer & Fall 2007, Fall 2008

 

89

Newspaper Clippings, not dated

 

90

Newspaper Clippings, 1980s

 

91

Newspaper Clippings, 1990s

 

92

Newspaper Clippings, 2000-2002

 

Oversized

Newspaper Clippings and recipient and dog profiles

 

93

Pamphlets

 

94

Policies and Manuals, 1991

 

 

 

 

 

S4. Audiovisual Materials

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs:

 

 

 

4

95

Dogs, identified

 

96

Dogs, unidentified

 

97

Events

 

98

Facilities

 

99

Recipients, identified

 

100

Recipients, unidentified

 

101

Volunteers and workers

 

 

 

5

 

Video tapes, VHS, Beta, ¾ Inch, 1989-2001

 

 

Last Updated: 1/3/12