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Support Dogs, Inc.

8 Employees | 500+ Volunteers | Founded 1981

A nonprofit assistance dogs provider that is dedicated to helping people achieve mobility and independence through assistance dogs at no cost to them.

Mission Statement

Support Dogs, Inc. had received a grant from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust to offset the cost of whelping, training, placing and monitoring one Youth Service Dog. It costs over $27,000 to provide one service dog for a youth with a disability and this is done at no cost to him or her. For over 17 years, Support Dogs, Inc. has met the needs of children under the age of 18 with physical and mental disabilities by the placement of a dog through our Youth Service Dog Program. Having a Youth Service Dog not only provides an incentive for speech and cognitive therapy but also increases social and behavioral skills for a child with a disability. The dogs are placed with children between the ages of 6-18 who have physical disabilities including but not limited to cerebral palsy, spina bifida, familial dysautonomia, and muscular dystrophy. Most of the children use wheelchairs or are semi-ambulatory. Some of the children may have mental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder or Down Syndrome as well. A placement of a Youth Service Dog provides a companion for the disabled child and becomes a major part of a child’s development and education.

Impact

Youth Service Dogs are trained to serve those who need assistance with various mobility tasks or support those who need hearing assistance. Dogs are trained to open doors, retrieve small and distant objects, carry bags, rise to counters, and pull those in wheelchairs. Hearing dogs are trained to alert for a doorbell or telephone ring, alarm clock and crying baby. In addition to skills, the dog provides constant companionship and emotional support to the person it is placed with. A Youth Service Dog placement is essentially a family placement. The child and family must attend training classes before receiving certification. Once certified, the child and dog are encouraged to attend ongoing classes to continue with socialization and skills building. Our clients have told us that, with the help of an Assistance Dog, they are able to obtain employment, go back to school and confidently reintroduce themselves into a public lifestyle, all because they have the assistance of a specially trained canine.

Support Dogs’ new, purpose built headquarters and training facility along with the continued help from our generous supporters such as the Dana Brown Charitable Trust will allows them to continue to serve deserving clients on our growing waiting list.