Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rick Hairston appointed to the Board of Directors of Assistance Dogs International North America

Rick Hairston, President and CEO of Canines for Service has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Assistance Dogs International North America.
Mr. Hairston will begin his four year term starting January 2014.  With the
Rick Hairston and
his service dog Titus
service dog industry being only 30-40 years old, the ability to help shape the future and define the standards of both service dogs and their trainers in the industry is very important.

Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organizations. The purpose of ADI is to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of assistance dogs, staff and volunteer education, as well as educating the public about assistance dogs, and advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities partnered with assistance dogs.
ADI has a comprehensive accreditation system and members have to be regularly assessed to ensure they meet the high standards expected of assistance dog programs.

Canines for Service is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The group trains and places certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families and military prisoners, provides pet therapy certification classes and helps children in our community improve their reading skills. .  Canines for Service continues to grow programs within the organization such as the Canines for Veterans, Canines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy and the service dog program. Service dogs, valued at over $40,000 each, assist people with disabilities to regain their independence with the help of the quality trained dogs that can complete over 350 tasks.  Since its inception in 1996, Canines for Service has provided over $8 million in services to our community. For more information, call 910-362-8181 or visit www.caninesforservice.org.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Raise the Roof

Raise the Roof

There comes a time for every nonprofit to ask the question, "Are we doing enough?". For Canines for Service, that time is now, but we cannot do it without you. 
How do we need you to help?  We need you to help us get into a larger facility. C
FS has steadily grown and expanded over the years, providing more services within the same walls.   With a bigger facility we can begin a service dog training school, teach others how to train highly skilled service dogs while saving more shelter dogs, and serve more people faster to give them greater independence. The space we need is about 8,000 sq ft of office and warehouse; at least 6,000 sq ft of warehouse for the kennels, training area and the support services (like feed room and grooming room). New space will create an opportunity for people to learn new job skills, which is much needed in the community, and serve people with disabilities quicker. We will also have new volunteer opportunities to engage more volunteers in our mission. Your support would help us move into a larger facility in a long term lease. Let's expand the walls because together we can make a difference for people like Leila.
"Today Leila had a good day and wanted to go to the beach and give Ezra a chance to play in the water. When we arrived, Ezra surprised us and decided to lay down in the water as soon as his toes became wet. He really had a great time. He decided to take a series of short walks and let him walk in the water. When we went back to the car, we stopped at the shower station and rinsed him off. He and Leila both had a great day today, thanks for helping to make that happen. He is helping Leila regain her confidence and getting her out in the world again. “ - Doug

Our goal of $60,000 will provide for 12-months of rent plus utilities in our new space. Click here to donate.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Helping Paw

Helping Paw
Gunner's Mate Chief Jeannette Tarqueno, a wounded Naval service member officially received Service Dog Gaza on August 26 after a week of team training. She hopes Gaza will be able to provide more independence and comfort in her life.  Tarqueno has served a distinguished career in the Navy for more than 11 years including service in Yokosuka, Japan at Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam, HI onboard the USS Port Royal. 
Jeannette was struck on the left side of her head by a 30-pound armored plate bracket that was falling from the deck above. Despite the limitations of her injury, Jeannette sets the example of overcoming ones obstacles to continue to live even with the changes she has faced.   After the injury, she took and passed her chief exams, as well as competed in the 2012 and 2013 Wounded Warrior games as a key member of the Navy cycling team. Tarqueno said, "As service members, it is sometimes difficult to put aside our pride and ask for help."

Jeannette reached out to Canines for Veterans with the help of Safe Harbor and her case manager. After completing an extensive application, which included a video and documentation that she was no longer deployable, she was approved for a service dog and matched with Gaza to help her overcome her limitations and achieve her goal of completing a distinguished Navy career.   "The application process asks for a lot of information and the video was most challenging”, says Jeannette.  “but many groups require a service member to travel at their own expense for a face-to-face interview.  Canines for Veterans has found a way to make the application process work without the expense or loss of time to the Veteran.”

Service Dog Gaza will accompany Jeannette and assist her with her balance issues, PTSD and issues related to her traumatic brain injury at her new post in Rock Hill, IL.  "It's a wonderful program. I couldn't be more blessed to have such an incredible companion," said Tarqueno.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Celebrating Volunteerism

Celebrating Volunteerism
At Canines for Service, WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS!!!!!  In September we held our annual picnic to celebrate our volunteers. It was a great turnout and we had so much fun spending time with the people who make up the very heart of Canines for Service.  Our annual award winners were as follows:
Therapy Team of the Year: Jeri Henderson and Biscuit 

Foster Family of the Year: Deb Jendrasek and Chris Matheus

Overall Volunteer of the Year: Marie Walker

Our volunteers are truly the best!  We consider each and every volunteer to be part of our family here at Canines for Service.  Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts! 
We need you!  Our mission relies on volunteers to get involved. From raising a service dog in training to helping with events, volunteers are the cornerstone of Canines for Service.  Learn how you can volunteer by clicking here

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Brothers in Training

Training to Serve
There are times when something happens that just makes us smile.  In August we selected a dog from the Colleton County Animal Shelter in Walterboro, South Carolina.  Eli is a mixed of some kind, but happy and has a strong desire to work.  He is one of those dogs that can spoil a trainer because if you show him a new task he gets it on the first try.  On one of Eli's first big outings, he went to a Charleston RiverDogs game and you would have thought he had been to many before.

Fast forward into September and our trainer gets a call from the same shelter.  They found Eli's brother roaming the roads and picked him up.  After holding him for the necessary period the shelter called us to see if we were interested in him.  The answer was yes. A bit underweight and not as confident as Eli, Abner joined the training program and is also on his way to becoming a service dog for a Veteran.

Learn more about the Canines for Veterans program at our website

Monday, July 22, 2013

Touching hearts, changing lives

It is an exciting time around Canines for Service when a person is partnered with their
service dog.  Team training, when the person learns to work with the service dog selected form them, is very intense.  No matter how much we try to prepare the person receiving the dog, their family, our volunteers and staff, it is an emotional and physically exhausting time. 

How does it all start?    It starts with the commitment of a volunteer to open their hearts and home to raise and train a puppy.  The volunteer, becomes a foster family, and the staff at Canines for Service is then charged with finding a 7-11 week old puppy.   Most often our puppies come from local shelters or rescues but there are times when a puppy is donated by someone whose dog had a litter.  

What does it take to be a Foster? Our foster families are individuals, couples, traditional or non-traditional families that have a willingness and desire to help someone else. The foster comes to regular classes that are held at our facility to train the puppy under our direction and guidance.  Fostering a service dog in training is a gift of patience and love.  The foster also makes a financial commitment for the costs of food and veterinary care for the pup.  The foster will have the puppy with them for at least one full year, sometimes longer, before the pup transfers to another trainer. 

What happens when the pup goes to another trainer? When the pup transfers up to another trainer it will begin training in intermediate and advanced skills.  The foundation skills the foster family worked on with the pup and the socialization are key to preparing a well rounded service dog.   When the dog is nearing completion of training, an assessment is done to determine readiness for placement and the category of service work the dog is best suited for. 

How is the client matched with the dog? Applications are received from people needing a service dog and a careful review is done to ensure the person's needs can be met with a service dog from Canines for Service.  If we can meet the persons needs, they are placed on a wait list.  As a dog is nearing completion of training we start to look at the dog for its size and skills and review our approved applicants to make a match.    Once a match is made team training is arranged.  

What happens during team training? During team training the client is brought into the community to spend 5 to 7 days to learn how to work with the service dog matched to them.  It is an intense week of training for the person to learn the dogs skills, how to command and control the dog and how to use the dog to help them with their disability.  Team training is also a chance for the donor of the pup and foster to meet the client, if possible, the trainer to say good-bye and the team to celebrate the new beginning. 

We need You to be a part of this special gift of independence on four paws. Donate, foster and volunteer to help us serve others.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It Takes a Village

Every time there is a new partnering we are reminded it takes a village.  The service dog has been touched by so many lives leading up to it being partnered with a person with a disability.  From the selection process with  local shelter/rescue to one of several veterinary clinics stepping up on short notice to evaluate the hips of the dog by x-ray, spay/neuter if necessary and bring the dog up-to-date on vaccinations, to transporting the dog to it's new career and then the training and outings.  Countless people involved in the process including our funders and donors.  We congratulate and thank each and every one of you whose hands and feet make our mission possible. 

The help of our supporters, new friends and social media could not have been 

more evident than in the last week.  On Tuesday, May 14th, a Airedale Mix was spotted on a Facebook post at Woodland West Pet Resort in Tulsa OK.  A Facebook email to a friend in revealed she was in the area and would call the resort.  The dog, named Charlie, was found walking down the exit ramp of a busy highway.  No one claimed him after all the necessary advertising.  Woodland West needed to find him an adopter because they did not want him to go to the pound.  Our friend temperament tested Charlie on Wednesday and the results were good.  On Thursday Charlie was neutered, his hips evaluated and vaccinated by Woodland West Animal Hospital.  On Friday a request was put on the Canine for Service facebook page asking for anyone with contacts to help get the dog from Tulsa, OK to Charleston, SC.  One of our Board Members is in the Air Force Reserves and she posted the request on her personal facebook page.  A response came in that someone knew an Airman completing flight school and traveling back to Charleston.  On Friday night between 5 to 9 pm plans were solidified and Charlie would be on route from Tulsa to Charleston.

Does this happen often?  Well, not for us.  This is the furthest we have ever obtained a dog from for the Canines for Veterans program.  We are overwhelmed by the number of people who stepped up to assist  for the sake of one stray dog and a program that speaks to peoples hearts.  

Charlie has been renamed Rafiki, Swahili word for "Friend", seems fitting for this boy who has already become the friend of so many.  Now, it is our turn to shape him into the service dog he is destined to be.   Our many thanks to Pat, Summer at Woodland West Pet Resort, Sarah and Dr. Johnson  at Woodland West Animal Hospital, Shawna for the contacts for transport, Airman Ben for giving the Rafiki a ride to Charleston.  Without each and every one of you, this would not have happened. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Paw Prints

Teaming Up for Success.
Rick & Service Dog MalachiTeaming up with Dog Bless You, Air Compassion for Veterans and Holiday Inn Express North Ashley, Canines for Veterans partnered its' 25th Veteran with their service dog.  Rick received Malachi in March and the team quickly bonded and began working together.  Team training was a week long process of intense training for the new team.  Training within the walls of the Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston and in the community, Rick learned how to work with his new canine partner to give him back his independence.  Rick thought he would show up, learn the commands and be all set.  He never realized there was so much to learn and work on with his new service dog.   Click here to learn more in this informative interview by Live 5 News Corey Davis.
As service dogs are placed it gives us the opportunity to bring new dogs into the training program. Jethro (formerly known as Cooper) joined the training from R.A.C.E. Inc. in Brunswick County. The R.A.C.E. team coordinated the meeting and temperament testing of Jethro and having passed that milestone they coordinated getting Jethro to the veterinary practice for his hip evaluation.   Thanks to the help of R.A.C.E. Inc. Jethro is settled into the Canines for Veterans program and beginning his training to one day serve a Veteran. 
To learn more about the Canines for Veterans program click here
Walking for the Cause
Boston Terrier Rescue
The 7th Annual Walk for Those Who Can't was held on March 23 in Wilmington bringing over 150 people, close to 200 dogs and 20 vendors who braved the chilly morning hoping the rain would hold off.  This year the event added a dog dash as a fun run for humans and their canine friends.
The event has become a welcomed spring gathering for dog lovers and helps to raise awareness about our programs and services and funds needed to continue the mission.  Helping to make that happen were the incredible sponsors so here is a big shout out to each of the sponsors that helped to make this event possible. 

Volunteers, The Heart Beat of Our Organization

April 21-27 in National Volunteer Appreciation Week.  Canines for Service volunteers work hard for us giving an average of 4,500 hours each month supporting the Canines for Service, Canines for Veterans, Canines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy programs.  From Board Members to helping in the office or volunteers at events, volunteers are the cornerstone of our organization. We celebrate our Volunteers and give our thanks for your dedication to others. 

Pets Make a Difference Everyday
adellCountless telephone calls come into our office each week asking for pet therapy teams to visit in their facility.  Certified pet therapy teams make a difference in the lives of people in our communities.  Whether it is working with elementary school children as literacy mentors or visiting at the nursing facility or hospital, the Canines for Therapy teams bring sunshine in the form of four paws.   
Our certified Canines for Therapy teams work hard to learn the skills they need as a team, person and dog.  Canines for Therapy is a comprehensive course that provides an active hands-on presentation and teaching the skills needed for a therapy team to make for successful visitations.   Our program will not accept a home-study option in which a person can obtain the course book and then schedule an evaluation. 
Canines for Therapy is the "platinum standard"- one that requires education for both the dog and the handler - and that offers good customer service, professionalism, and support of its volunteers.   Of course, volunteer registration with Canines for Therapy includes liability coverage for the team.  In addition to liability coverage, registration with Canines for Therapy includes a state and national background check including criminal and sexual offender verification - another element we feel is essential for ensuring appropriateness of our volunteers for the work they will be doing.

This program is growing and is offered in Raleigh, Smithfield and Raeford, NC in addition to Wilmington and in Charleston, SC.  Learn more about becoming a Canines for Therapy team visit our website or to learn about becoming an instructor click here.

The volunteers love what they do and so often we are told the teams have received so much more than they give.
In The News
Staff member Laura Conn was recently featured in Beach Carolina Magazine in an article about College of Charleston.  Laura is a graduate of the college and was invited to speak to the criminology students about her work with Canines for Veterans. To read the article, click here. And, staff member Pat Hairston was appointed to the GuideStar User Advisory Panel.  This team of users from a diverse segment of non-profits, for-profits and foundations will help the GuideStar Idea Lab select the products of the future.  Don't know about GuideStar?  It is the most comprehensive web based tool that gathers and publicizes information about nonprofit organizations. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

7th Annual Walk for Those Who can't March 23, 2013

Canines for Service annual fundraiser the Walk for Those Who Can’t will be held at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 23, 2013 beginning with registration.  Teams and individuals can register and fundraise for the Walk For Those Who Can't online by visiting www.caninesforservice.org.  Pre-registration is preferred with a donation of $25 for the Walk or Dog Dash; children 12 and under are free.  Day of event donation is $35.  Individuals and teams are encouraged to raise money for our program.  Virtual participation is encouraged.

This year’s event adds a Dog Dash – a fun run for people and their favorite canines!  Anyone entering this un-timed run with their canine and crossing the finish line will be entered to win a special prize.  Other activities benefiting Canines for Service include:
·         A vendor scavenger hunt. Grab a blank quiz from the registration table or the doggie treat bar. Visit each vendor (over 20 in attendance) to get an answer to a question (answers posted at each table) and find out more about Canines for Service. Once you have completed all answers, put your quiz in the box for an opportunity to win one of two great prizes – Gift certificate for a Pet Portrait or a gift certificate for a doggie spa treatment.  All quizzes must be completed and turned in by the start of the walk to be eligible to win a prize. 
·         Visit the doggie treat bar and games. For $1.00, your dog can participate in 3 games and win treats:  (1) We guess your dog’s breed; (2) Sit and Shake – a treat if your dog successfully performs each command; and (3) Are you smarter than your dog (come by to find out!).  You can also buy a bag of mix and match treats including blueberry, apple carrot, and sweet potato cranberry. 
·         Have your dog’s photo taken – Visit our photographer and get your dog’s photo taken. Dress up clothes available for a really memorable photo! Donations accepted.
·         Raffle Tickets – Raffle tickets are available for sale at the doggie treat bar. All raffle tickets must be purchased by the start of the walk to be eligible for the drawing.  2 for $5.00 and 5 for $10.00 or get your tickets online at Canines for Service Walk Information.
On the day of the event, sign-in and on-site registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the approximately 2 mile walk around Hugh MacRae Park.  This is a family and dog friendly event participants are encouraged to bring their canine companions.  The event Masters of Ceremony is Sheila Brothers and of SunnyFM 104.5 and photographer Pam Harnett will be there to capture you and your pet the day of the event.   Refreshments will be available pre-Walk.

The Walk For Those Who Can’t, raises money for the Canines for Service’s programs. Funding is used to support growing programs within the organization such as the Canines for VeteransCanines for Therapy and Canines for Literacy and the service dog program. Service dogs, valued at $40,000 each, assist people with disabilities to regain their independence with the help of the quality trained dogs that can complete over 350 tasks.  “We continue to see a growth in the need for our services.  With the national visibility of our organization, now more than ever, we need the support of our local community.”  said President and CEO Rick Hairston. “This walk is a wonderful opportunity to learn about our many programs and support our mission through a sponsorship, donation, or participation.

Support for the 2012 Walk For Those Who Can’t comes in part from CBS 10 WILM,  Sunrise BroadcastingSunnyFM 104.5, 98.7 Carolina Coastal Rock, Z107.5, ESPN Radio, The Pet’s Pal Inn, Greater Wilmington Business Journal, WILMA, Alpha Mortgage, Atlantic Animal Hospital, Just Name It, StarNews Media, Port City Java, Fairway Advertising, Wilmington Area Hospitality Association, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and many more.  Event, table top exhibitors and hospitality food sponsorships are available; for more information call 910-362-8181.

Canines for Service is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The group trains and places certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families and military prisoners, provides pet therapy certification classes and helps children in our community improve their reading skills. Since its inception in 1996, Canines for Service has provided over $7 million in services to our community. For more information, call 910-362-8181 or visit www.caninesforservice.org.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Walk 2013 - 10 Ways to Get Involved

The 7th Annual Walk for Those Who Can't is quickly approaching on March 23, 2013.  This event is held in Wilmington, NC the home of the corporate office for Canines for Service.  It is a funding raising event for the program and services.  This years event adds a fun Dog Dash for people to run approximately a 2 mile untimed race with their canine buddy.  Here are some ways you can get involved:

  1. Live in the general area?  Register to walk by yourself, with your family or friends; http://www.caninesforservice.org/Walk_-Registration.html
  2. Register for the Dog Dash and come run with your 4-legged friend.
  3. Want to help more?  Set up a Fan Fundraising page and fundraise for the event.  Raise $100 in by asking 10 people to donate 10 dollars.  Ask friends, family, co-workers, neighbors.  Give up one cup of premium coffee a week and donate the money to the Walk.  Fundraise here https://rally.org/walkforthosewhocant
  4. Own a business - be a sponsor.  For as little as $100 you can help support the work we do. It is not too late to sponsor http://www.caninesforservice.org/Walk-Sponsors.html
  5. Be a Table Top Exhibitor.  For a donation of $100 share your services or get your merchandise in from of between 200 - 600 people in just a few hours. http://www.caninesforservice.org/Walk-Sponsors.html
  6. Own a restaurant or food service? Donate food for the hospitality area.  From breakfast to sandwiches, the participates love to be feed.  Your business will be acknowledged in the hospitality area the day of the event.
  7. Spread the word.  Put flyers up around your area, in your office at your church. Print the flyer here http://www.caninesforservice.org/uploads/2013_walkFlyer_Jan13.pdf
  8. Share this post on Facebook  to get others involved.
  9. Volunteer.  We need volunteers to help with all aspects of the event. Email information@caninesforservice.org to get involved with the event.
  10. Raise money in your own home town.  Set up a Fan Fundraising page and fundraise for the event.  Raise $100 in by asking 10 people to donate 10 dollars.  Ask friends, family, co-workers, neighbors.  Top fundraiser willbe eligible for a great prize.  And, of course, bragging rights! Fundraise here https://rally.org/walkforthosewhocant