Want to train dog?
You may have seen him, that adorable 10-week-old yellow lab puppy named 'Benny' recently hanging out at the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market.
Autism Service Dogs of America, a local non-profit service dog agency is seeking volunteer puppy raisers for a new class of service dog trainee puppies starting Saturday, Dec. 2. Specific details regarding the puppy raiser volunteer program can be found on the agency's Web site, www.autismserv
icedogsofamerica.com, under the 'tab' puppy raisers.'
Much like Guide Dogs for the Blind, Autism Service Dogs of America, 'ASDA' in order to keep the cost of a service dog down and to promote a future service dog's socialization/ interaction skills depends on generous community members to volunteer their time and energy in helping raise future service dog puppies. 4-H clubs do it. Church organizations can get together and sponsor a class, as can local community organizations such as the Lions, Rotary or The Knights of Columbus.
The puppies are assigned to a raiser at about 12 weeks of age. The puppies are housebroken and trained in basic obedience prior to the time of placement with the puppy raiser. The puppy stays with the raiser for approximately 14 to 16 months. Puppy raisers attend a monthly class, the first Saturday morning of the month from approximately nine to noon. There will be eight raisers in the class starting Dec. 2. At the monthly classes the raisers get to know each other and the puppies receive advance command training. In addition, the Saturday sessions are utilized to socialize the puppies in a group by going to restaurants, malls, movies, Bullwinkle's and playing group puppy games.
The puppies come with public accommodation vests. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the trainers and puppies are allowed access to all public places. Raisers are asked to take the puppy with them to work, school, shopping and all around. The dogs can even fly with the raiser in the cabin on airplanes!
Since ASDA is a local agency the puppy-raising activities will take place in and around the Lake Oswego, Southwest Portland area. To learn more about what a tremendous difference an ASDA dog can do for a child with autism or to discover other ways you can help ASDA change a child's life forever please visit our Web site.
Pris Taylor, Lake Oswego, is the director/founder of Autism Service Dogs of America.