Saturday, June 29, 2013

Graduation Day!

Finally the day everybody has been waiting for: GRADUATION!! Teams were presented their dogs by their puppy raisers and tears of joy were shed - but enough of that! I know what are you thinking. Who went with who?

Presenting the graduating class of 2013

Ambassador Teams:

Kerri Van Pelt with Bella
Raised by Kerri and Henry Van Pelt



Kelly Stack with Calypso
Raised by Tom and Jennifer Killinger

Grace and Yogi
Raised by Hannah Parpart


Aaron Phelps and Lindy ~ Raised by Bill and Hilary Parry

Assisted Service

Alec and Jazz
 Raised by Brad Coyne

Courtney & Samba
Raised by April Smith and family

Lizzie and Bolero 
Raised by Emily Booth

Lucas and Zumba
Raised by myself (Hope) and my mom Ginger

A special thanks to the donor who anonymously gave a gift to each of this years graduates. You know who you are :) And to ALL who made this years graduation possible. Together, we are making a difference!

Today's final winning "Countdown to Graduation" Raffle ticket: 250

Friday, June 28, 2013

Team Training ~ Day 12

Today was the last official day of Team Training. :) To celebrate, we had the annual Puppy Raiser Picnic. Puppy raisers are a huge and important part of our program, they make everything we do possible and give the dogs that preliminary foundation they need to be successful. Therefore, we like to throw them a picnic every year to celebrate.

It is also a wonderful opportunity for the teams to get to know their puppy raiser. They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to some of their dog's habits in a home environment.

Pizookie will be raised by Hope & Sierra (pictured above)

The dogs (and kids) enjoyed getting the chance to run and swim in the pond and just be dogs for the day, followed by a bath in Cheryl's Mobile Grooming van.

Lastly, to rap up the day, the teams and puppy raisers' got a gift: a blanket for the graduates, (that's right, everyone is graduating tomorrow!) and matching pillows for the puppy raisers :)

It was an amazing day, and I think I speak for all when I say it was loads of fun! Check in tomorrow to read hear about GRADUATION!!!!!!!!

The dessert litter (10 weeks old) was on hand to bring smiles and warm puppy kisses to all. Gotta love that puppy breath!

A HUGE thanks to Shelia, Karrie, and Charlene for the blankets and pillows!! They're absolutely amazing and will be cherished for a long time to come :) 

Winning "Countdown to Graduation" Raffle ticket: 921

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Team Training ~ Day 11

Today was a very big day for all of teams: Testing day :) Before the teams can go out in public, they have to pass the "public access" test. This test is specifically designed to examine whether people can keep themselves, their dog, and the people around them safe.

Today was a very big day for all of teams: Testing day :) Before the teams can go out in public, they have to pass the "public access" test. This test is specifically designed to examine whether people can keep themselves, their dog, and the people around them safe.

Some of the tasks included seeing how the dog reacted to loud noises, making sure they are comfortable with strangers and young children, and seeing if they can keep their dog focused (especially with distractions like food and people).

Overall everyone did EXTREMELY well and I could not be more proud of them :D Oh and the good news, everybody passed!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations teams!

Winning "Countdown to Graduation" Raffle: 858

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Team Training ~ Day 10

Today was a very fun day. To start out, teams continued to work on retrieve and other mobility commands like 'tug' and 'light'.

 Then we lightened the mood with a little friendly competition: "musical beds". In this game the kids (and adults) had to get their dogs to lay in a bed when the music stopped. Each time the loser sat out and a bed was removed. This of course continued until one lone victor remained. Not only is this game fun, but everyone must get their dog to react quickly and without error (a very useful skill when you are in a rush. 

After that, everyone learned about what to expect when they get their dogs home. Because life is so different for the dogs at the kennel than in someone's home, it can take a little while for the dogs to adapt and bond. The important thing know is that it just takes time :)

 Next, everyone took a field trip to a working farm. In addition to all the animals, it was a great opportunity to work with the dogs. There were so many new sights, smells and animals, that it wasn't hard to get the dogs distracted. It was interesting to watch how the different teams handled the problems they came across and even more rewarding to see the kids smiles when they saw the different animals.

Thank you to Karen and her family for allowing us to come by and visit, and to the Lynch family for a wonderful homemade lunch and dinner!

"Countdown to Graduation" Raffle ticket: 781

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Team Training ~ Day 9

It is now day 9 and everyone is finally getting acclimated to life with a dog. The little things like making sure the dog has had a chance to potty and get water are becoming part of the regular routine, as well as being able to keep the dog content while taking care of what they need to do.

As far as activities, today yet again presented new challenges. The first task was retrieving. Participants had to make their dog pick up several items off the floor and return them to their lap. This can be a very useful skill, particularly if a person is in a wheelchair.


Next, teams had to work their way through an obstacle course riddled with distractions; everything from food, to other dogs, were placed about in an attempt to keep the dogs from working for the people.

Then after a bit of fun in the play yard, Cheryl came to give a demonstration on grooming and bathing. Everyone learned how to properly clip toenails, brush their dog's coat and teeth, and clean ears.

I'm so glad that everyone's doing so well and encourage everyone to keep up the good work :)

Winning "Countdown to Graduation" raffle ticket: 118

Monday, June 24, 2013

Team Training ~ Day 8

Now that everyone had a chance to rest up, it was time for a new challenge. In addition to the basic commands the dogs know (such as sit, shake, down, and lap) it is also important that the teams can effectively use their dogs for more complex tasks as well. 

So today the teams were asked to get their dogs to pull a door open, (a command known as 'tug') and work a light switch. The biggest challenge with this was learning to position themselves (or their wheelchair) in order to achieve success.

 Next up was a trip to the Rouge Valley Mall where teams got a taste of how difficult things can be when distractions are added. Things like dropped food, new smells, and the shear number of people can cause a dog to be less likely to work for you. Therefore it's important that teams get as much experience in scenarios like these before they go home with a dog.

Teams also learned about potential safety hazards that may lurk in the mall such as escalators and elevators (It is important that the dog is right next to you when loading and unloading as to avoid the doors closing with you on one side and the dog on the other)

Overall it was a great but exhausting day...

Today's winning "Countdown to Graduation raffle ticket: 730