Tuesdays With Maui

Maui and I pose outside a shop with a sign in the window that says Service Dogs ONLY.
Maui is no ordinary Golden Retriever. She has VIP access to any public location, including restaurants and movie theaters. When she's caught sleeping in class, nobody minds.
Maui and I riding in a taxi.
As my Assistance Dog, Maui's job is to accompany me wherever I go. If I drop an object, she picks it up. If I need a door opened, she handles it. Because of her, I am able to lead a more independent life.
Maui in her geisha Halloween costume.
There are many rules Maui has to follow, and these rules can seem unfair to humans. But to Maui, the job is a game. She is rewarded for "tricks" and is allowed to be with her human all day long!
Maui sticking her head between the vertical blinds to see out our living room sliding glass door.
If there are no health or behavioral problems after the first year, the future service dog is moved to Paws with a Cause headquarters where it is matched with a client on the waiting list.
Maui getting her leash crossed with Lulu's while on a walk.
Maui is gentle and responds well to vocal commands, but she also has a lot of energy. This makes her a perfect match for me because I have limited upper body strength and I lead a very active life.
Maui with her front paws resting on the keys of a painted street piano in Denver.
Taking an adorable Golden Retriever everywhere with me has led to many interesting experiences. By sharing them with you, I hope to spread awareness of Service Dogs and issues affecting people with disabilities.


Ashley graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She devotes much of her time to human rights advocacy, volunteering extensively with Amnesty International and serving as the Ann Arbor chapter's group coordinator. She will begin working on her Master's degree in higher education next fall.

On a more serious note, you should know that Ashley is known for swearing like a sailor and she likes her margaritas on the rocks. She is the biggest fan of her own jokes and breaks into a terrible French accent often. This is normal. She is quoting one of the original Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers. Just hold still, it will (probably) be over shortly.

Someone once asked Ashley if she was attacked by a shark. It occurred to her that telling such a colorful story would be more fun than telling the truth when people ask her about her disability. Unfortunately, she is a terrible liar and wouldn't be able to keep from laughing. So, she continues to explain the peripheral neuropathy that she was born with to those who ask. But soon most people learn that this is the least important question about Ashley and they forget the answer shortly thereafter.

She believes one of the best forms of disability advocacy is chasing her dreams and letting people watch.