Leash of hope


Danielle Main, left, holds Pedro while Tessa Schmidt pets Titan.
Photo by Wayne Leidenfrost/The Province

Leash of hope
Adapted from The Province by Nila Gopaul
Level 3

Danielle Main and Tessa Schmidt
are disabled.
Danielle is 25 years old.
She is visually impaired.
It is difficult for her to see.
Tessa is 23 years old.
She has cerebral palsy.
She has trouble moving and speaking.

A problem
Danielle and Tessa are not “severely disabled”.
This means they can do
many things on their own.
So the women are not eligible for service dogs.

Many disabled people
want to feel safe.
They also like the companionship
of service dogs.
These dogs can help them
in many ways, such as:

  • Bring medication and things like keys
  • Help with balance on stairs
  • Help a person to stand
  • Wake up someone for work or school
  • Turn off and on lights
  • Keep danger away
The dog is wearing a leash. Photo by James Raynard/CC, Flickr

The dog is on a red leash.
Photo by James Raynard/CC, Flickr

“…(T)here is a hole in the system,” says Danielle.
Many people who need service dogs
cannot get them.
So the ladies started an organization.
It is called Leash of Hope Assistance Dogs.
Leash of Hope trains rescue dogs.
It also helps give dogs to people in need.
“We didn’t want to just complain
about it, we wanted to do something.”

Later this year,
a new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act
will be updated.
Danielle and Tessa hope the new rules
will allow more disabled people
to get service dogs.


  1. eligible: able to receive something
  2. companionship: the good feeling you get
    when you are with someone or with a pet