It all started with one very unique dog. This dog's sole purpose in life was to help others in ways unimaginable to others. Leif wasn't like other dogs, he could learn things without being taught, had an infectious personality and was always up for any adventure you could throw his way. He also happened to be a Service Dog, specialized in mobility and seizure alert. He had literally saved his handler's life multiple times but his was taken far before his time on November 2nd, 2016, by a reckless driver speeding through a residential neighborhood during his normal morning routine.
The family left battered and broken and with little recourse other than a lengthy battle in court, started this foundation to carry on Leif's legacy in a positive way. To protect and inspire other teams, and remove barriers in the lives of those with disabilities to allow them to participate in outdoor activities much in the way Leif had (he is to this day the only skiing service dog we know of). Most importantly of all we want to honor a life that impacted almost everyone he touched, from small children to local police officers, everyone knew and loved Leif, and we want to continue to spread that love in the community on a much larger scale. We honestly think it's what he would have wanted.
- Policy Reform
- Access Adventure
LLF is actively working with legislators at state level to resolve many issues not covered under Title II and III protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101). The ADA ensures access of working teams to anywhere the public can visit, such as stores, hotels and restaurants. The vague definition of a Service Dog in the law has been exploited by those who don't truly have a need and results in untrained, in some cases potentially dangerous dogs in public. We are working hard to counteract these practices as well as working to ban online companies fraudulently providing 'credentials' or 'certifications' for a fee. These certifications are completely false as there is no formal certification under the ADA, but unfortunately due to lack of community engagement, these individuals go completely undetected, even when there dog behaves in an unacceptable capacity or poses potential safety risks to the public.
Through conversations with local police departments and interaction with handlers, we have realized there is a large hole in community education about what Service Dogs are and aren't. Our approach to solving these issues is two pronged, we will be engaging law enforcement agencies to make them aware and educate in a sensible way about the existing laws as we've found that many uniformed officers, the people on the front lines, are not directly knowledgeable about ADA and state enforcement, especially around harassment, interference and public access issues. Secondarily we are planning community events, to bring awareness about Service Dogs and how to interact with them, and how to be courteous of other's disabilities in the case of teams that need to not be approached or may have issues with public interaction or are training.
Leif was an adventurous dog, and it always seemed that people were amazed by what he could do, whether it was sailing, skiing, climbing, he was always there and loved every moment. No Boundaries is a program developed to help those with disabilities that may not consider adventure sports and other outdoor activities because they feel that they're limited by their health, to cast aside these barriers and live more care free. We have found that being able to engage in these activities improves happiness and overall quality of life, and allows handlers the freedom to overcome illness, disability and social isolation while staying healthy.