A unique situation is making a number of highly-trained Service Dogs available immediately for Minnesota residents with serious disabilities. You, or someone you know, might be a perfect match for one of these special helpers if you can act quickly.
Service Dogs are custom trained to help people with mobility challenges by retrieving dropped objects, opening doors, pulling wheelchairs, fetching an emergency cordless phone and providing countless other specially trained tasks. The dogs are custom trained for each applicant and then carefully taught to work with their new human partner.
These special dogs cost more than $20,000 to train, but they are available free of charge to qualified applicants through a nonprofit organization called Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota. The dogs are free to those who need them because the cost of providing these tireless workers is provided by donations from individuals, foundations and service groups like the Lions.
This Minneapolis based organization usually has a long waiting list for its highly valued dogs. However, the pool of puppies raised by program volunteers this year has produced a larger-than-normal group of dogs needing to be paired with just the right person in order to be successful.
The ideal person would be a fairly strong leader who has a clear voice and probably works outside the home. These dogs need to be part of an active lifestyle that creates many opportunities for them to do their work each day.
“This is the first time this has happened during our 18 years of operation,” said Executive Director Alan Peters, “While this group of dogs will not be a good fit for every single person with a disability, they will change the lives of people who are a good match.”
Peters went on to say, “If we do not make the proper placements for these dogs, some may be “career changed” into pet homes, as they cannot wait for a permanent home forever. That would be a real loss.”
If you might be the right person for one of these helpers, please call V-612-729-5986 or TTY-612-729-5914 to request an application or for more information.
Laurie Carlson is Volunteer Coordinator for Hearing and Service Dogs of MN.