This wheelchair-bound athlete is glad she has her “Moxie”


Katie Harris and Moxie. Photo courtesy Katie Harris

Bill Motchan, Special to the Jewish Light

Moxie Harris is a bit like a butler. She is frequently scurrying around, bringing Katie Harris her phone or shoes. Moxie will eagerly open and close doors, pick up trash and perform many other tasks.

Moxie happens to be a goldendoodle. The 4-year-old service dog is a devoted companion to Harris, a Jewish St. Louis social worker.

Harris, 41, once a nationally ranked tennis player and elite athlete, was diagnosed in 2015 with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of disorders that affect connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels and organs. It left her in a wheelchair, depressed and unable to do many of the things she always had previously.

“Moxie also helps me mainly physically, like when I can’t bend down without passing out, she’ll pick things up for me,” Harris said. “I decided I needed to stop focusing on all these things I can’t do anymore and find something that I can do, which is helping other people get service dogs.”

In addition to serving Harris with her daily needs, Moxie is a goodwill ambassador for service dogs. She accompanies Harris to schools, where they create awareness about the importance of service dogs for people with disabilities. They’ve also helped raise money to help veterans and others obtain service dogs through their nonprofit organization, “Moxie’s Mission.” Service dogs undergo many hours of specialized training, and a fully certified service dog can cost as much as $40,000.

Moxie Harris is also a celebrity— she is a semifinalist to be a national hero dog. You can learn more about Moxie’s story by visiting her website at