Using the sport of dog agility, this program helps individuals with disabilities develop social skills, physical capabilities, and self-confidence. Dog agility participants direct dogs through obstacle courses within specific time limits.
Friends Melissa Voetsch and Kim Holmes founded the program under the name Agility Angels in 2008 to help individuals diagnosed with autism.
Ten families joined in the volunteer effort, which enjoyed immediate success in helping its students connect with the dogs—and the world. The program grew to more than 50 participants, with Holmes and a crew of volunteer coaches holding training classes three evenings a week.
Agility Angels and The Ability Center merged in December 2021.
The program now accepts participants with all disabilities, including spinal cord injuries, vision impairment, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Agility Dog Sports continues to rely entirely on volunteer coaches and dog owners. Each participant works with the same dog and coach throughout their involvement based on compatibility.