AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Owners and their four legged friends gathered downtown Saturday for the 20th Annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk.
The benefit helped raise money for Service Dogs Inc., which provides service dogs to Texans who are struggling with disabilities.
Glenda Kea counts on her dog Davinci to help her get around.
From picking things up, to guiding her. He's always by her side.
"If I drop something he'll pick it up," Kea said. "If I have trouble opening a door he opens it for me."
This pooch doesn't just do tricks for kicks. His tricks help improve her life.
"Ever since I've had Davinci I've had a reason to get out of bed," Kea said.
Davinci isn't your average pup, he's a service dog who's got an important job to do. Kea suffers from a number of health issues dating back to when she was in her late teens and worsened as she got older.
"Since I was 20 I was diagnosed with Systemic lupus erythematosus, it's a chronic incurable potentially fatal disease," Kea said.
Kea said the diagnosis limited her ability to get around independently.
"Once my legs got caught in my chair and couldn't move forward or backwards and my phone was just out of my reach," Kea said.
Over a year ago she reached out to Service Dogs Inc.
"Service Dogs Inc. sees to it that people like me get the help they need," Kea said.
The program provides service dogs for Texans struggling with hearing issues, mobility impairments and other emotional challenges.
Saturday the dynamic duo joined hundreds of other pups on a one-mile stroll along Lady Bird Lake. The goal was to raise money for the organization.
"Some people will say a dog is just a dog," attendee Samantha Juhan said, "it's just another family member they can do pretty much anything you want and this is important because this event gives the money the funds to train them and help others."
Organizers of the nonprofit say the program started 20 years ago and has continued to grow throughout the years. This year, with help from the community, they've already exceeded their goal of raising $100,000.
"We do it for free but we're trying to make as much money as we can on this so we can provide more dogs for people in need." Service Dogs, Inc founder Sheri Soltes said.
Organizers say each service dog costs around $45,000 to train and maintain through its working life.
"I met a woman just last week who told me that her son needed a service dog and they were working with an organization that wanted $50,000 dollars," Kea said.
Kea says without Service Dogs Inc.'s help, she couldn't do half the things she does now.
"If SDI had asked me for that kind of money, I would be home stuck in bed right now," Kea said.