Friday, November 13, 2009

It's About the Impact

Serving the mobility impaired community with a quality trained Service dog training isn’t about the numbers, it’s about the impact. In our programs in Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC puppies are raised by volunteer foster families from the time the pup is 7-11 weeks of age until it is about 2 years old. This is an enormous commitment by our foster families. Attending weekly and bi-weekly classes, taking the pup on outings for socialization, meeting the everyday needs of the pup from veterinary care to food, toys, and love.

The service dogs in training are living, breathing “products” of our program. But unlike many “products” produced by for-profit and non-profit businesses, there are variables because the service dog is living and breathing. Variables come into play for the personality of the dog; can it handle the constant socialization in the public without shutting down? Another variable is the dogs’ health; it must be of sound health including strong hip development for the work that the dog will eventually do.

Over the years, many dogs have come through the service dog program and many had to be released for adoption because of a health of temperament issue. We are happy to say that the dogs released from the program have all been adopted into wonderful homes. And, while their release was a disappointment because it meant one less future service dog, it is always the right decision.

Every person with a mobility disability that receives a Carolina Canines Service Dog is a success. The receiving of the service dog is a culmination of many hours and many people giving their time and their hearts. Today we are celebrating the success of two recipients from the civilian service dog program; Kathy Ormsby and Diane Godwin. Kathy received service dog Eden in October after waiting four years for her dog. And, Diane Godwin received her second service dog, Issachar, in October as well. Eden was trained by the Morrison family in Myrtle Beach, SC with he advanced training completed by Stephen LeQuire and Issachar was trained by Ed and Jean Pridgen with advanced training completed by Donna Sweetman.

For both of these individuals the impact is great. It gives them the opportunity to be more independent and rely on their service dogs to assist them with the little things many of us take for granted. Join us in celebrating these gifts from the heart.

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