Since partnership with his highly skilled working assistance dog, Smitty, Andrew experienced a total life change- one he considers to be life saving. Smitty knows over 100 commands. To name a few, Smitty helps carry items around, retrieve and pick up items, brace and tug to help Andrew stand, open and close doors, turn on and off lights, and can even read. Receiving Smitty was such a profound moment in his life that from that day on, Andrew aspired to help other individuals with disabilities gain independence like he did. Over many years, Andrew and Smitty have volunteered countless hours which later lead to Andrew founding National Assistance Dogs to make a bigger impact to our nation, with a focus on returning members of our Armed Forces.
Sammye Darling is an honors graduate from Texas A&M University, where she received her Bachelors of Science degree in psychology and minor in neuroscience. After gaining specialized training with assistance dogs that serve individuals with disabilities, Sammye founded Texas Service Dogs that has since joined forces with National Assistance Dogs. Sammye has over a decade of experience with dogs and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA) that particularly enjoys working one-on-one with clients solving behavioral problems and teaching service dogs their advanced behaviors or service dog “tasks.”