by Laura Douglas, Good Dog! Associate Director
Congratulations to our newest graduating teams - Ryan & Marvel, Danielle & Bella, and Lauren and Justice.
On August 24, 2019 we had three new service dog teams graduate after an intensive week at team training! In honor of our recent team training, we would like to take some time to share more about the bonding process that our parent handlers and their new service dogs go through during the week.
A Blog by Oskar & Good Dog! Eddie's Mom
There are moments on this parenting journey with a child who is on the autism spectrum that are too telling not to share, especially with the organization that changed all our lives.
I often get asked in public spaces if Eddie likes working, because he is the king of the side eye burn and he does not like to be interrupted on the job. This means he often looks annoyed when, in reality, he’s just focused on his boy. Add in the fact that high functioning kids don’t always “look autistic” and you can imagine the conversations..
by Good Dog! Elvis's and Chloe's Mom Genny
Happy New Year Good Dog! Families! Well, the Altwer Family recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary of having our boy, Elvis, in our lives. While I can’t believe it’s been a year already, I couldn’t help but think about all the changes that have happened … and also the changes that I continue to see. I apologize for the lengthy post that is about to follow, but it comes from my heart & I really wanted to share.
by Good Dog! Yellow's and Sebastian's Mom Kimberly
A little over 2 years ago, I posted the below on FaceBook to explain Sebastian’s sensory processing challenges that impact his walking and my hopes around how A Superdog for Sebastian would help him...
Yesterday, we went to Michael’s craft store with Yellow. It was the first time he walked the entire time (without having to ride in the cart or have me carry him). Sebastian was focused on our shopping list and staying next to Yellow.
The fluorescent lights overwhelmed him while we waited in line but he was able to overcome it with some stimming behavior (I call it “the Stevie Wonder rock”). A woman standing behind us didn’t give us a strange look like what would normally happen. Instead, she was kind and complimented his dog.
We finished paying and as we headed to the car, Sebastian proudly carried our shopping bag (another first!).
Two years ago, this kind of outing was something I could only wish for. Something so simple as a trip to the store became a reality yesterday. I could never thank enough all the donors and supporters who made this happen. 💙
June 5, 2016 - FaceBook post
Walking. I never anticipated that walking would consume most of my thoughts. But it does. It's stressful. Like many parents, we cheered Sebastian on when he took his first steps at 10 months old. He progressed quickly from those first few stumbling steps to full on running.
Looking back, I had no clue that "walking feet!" would become my daily mantra. I bet that sounds pretty typical, right? Lots of parents yell at their kids to slow down and not run. I wish that was just the case, but there's more to it...
On May 19th we held a graduation at National University in San Diego, CA to celebrate Good Dog! teams 39, 40, 41. and 42. Walking the stage were our four legged graduates, Good Dogs Violet, Naboo, Kaldr and Yellow, joined by their two legged handlers Carly, Beth, Craig and Kimberly. The ceremonious passing of the dogs from trainer to parent handler marked the official beginning of their new lives as autism service dogs.
At every Good Dog! graduation The SO Faithful Companion Award is presented to a person or group that significantly helps Good Dog! advance our mission of helping children and families live better lives through autism service dog companionship.. It’s named in honor of our first recipient, Sheryl Osborne. That’s what the S.O. stands for and why it's in all caps. We wanted to name the award the Sheryl Osborne Award but Sheryl asked us not to because she didn’t want that kind recognition, she just wanted to help Good Dog! And WOW did she ever help ... Always with grand enthusiasm and heart. Her incredible impact -- in both tangible and intangible ways -- will never be forgotten.
So in the spirit of Sheryl Osborne, at our past graduation we honored a group whose impact is hard to measure. They’ve been by our side from the beginning, stuck with us through some growing pains, and continue to surprise us with their ideas, enthusiasm and commitment to our program. They have sponsored an autism facility dog, helped two military/autism families (Langagers & Loudens) reach their fundraising goal. And, they are currently sponsoring Good Dog! Bodie puppy in-training. They have thrown events, created raffles and sold things in their offices to just name a few. Not only do their efforts raise funds but also awareness! Sheryl Osborne herself learned about Good Dog! through The Drake Center as did many other now supporters and donors.
So it is incredibly fitting that we honored The Drake Center for Veterinary Care and bestowed them with the Spring 2018 Good Dog! SO Faithful Companion award.
Petco Foundation Invests in Good Dog Autism Companions’s Life-Changing Work Supporting Autism Service Dogs and their families.
A $5000 grant was made possible through the Petco Foundation’s annual Helping Heroes fundraising campaign, in partnership with Natural Balance Pet Foods for sponsorship of Team Training Week. We would like to thank them for their support of the life-changing work of service animals and for their support of our program.
The Petco Foundation investment helped to educate, inspire and support 4 new families in the care and handling of their new family member. Team Training is a 5-day intensive time of learning and bonding for both humans and canines. We meet for 8 hours each day to teach the new parent handler everything they need to know about the dog and how to become a confident handler.
“We are so grateful for the support of The Petco Foundation Helping Heroes grant. Team Training is such an important week where the new parent handlers learn all about their new service dogs. We teach them all about caring for their dog as well as about dog psychology and much more. Being supported by this grant allows us to make it a fantastic week of dog bonding and education.” said Laura Sylvester, Executive Director Good Dog! Autism Companions
About the Petco Foundation
At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we’ve invested more than $200 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we’ve helped more than 5.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved.
For more information about the Petco Foundation, visit www.petcofoundation.org. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #HelpingHeroes.
The below is a visual timeline of our process for placing Autism Service Dogs with Families.
Yesterday started out like a regular day at the office, I was working on grants, puppy transports, free chats, fundraising coaching, etc. etc. ... and then it started.
4 TEXT MESSAGES
11:31 Good Dog! Charlie's Mom
12:57 Good Dog! Sully's Professional/Mom
1:00 Good Dog! Blaze's Mom
1:54pm Good Dog! Eddie's Mom
It's not unusual for Rick and I to receive text messages from our families on a regular basis, but it's highly unusual for 4 to come in one day within hours of each other. So we wondered, why Wednesday? Why now? We decided it might just be the best time ever to share the hope and promise that comes with a Good Dog! It was a sign to spread some heartwarming news from North Carolina, West Virginia, New Orleans, and the Pacific Northwest with YOU who help us make it all happen! So THANK YOU for your continued support and love for our families and dogs. And enjoy the messages below!!
by Good Dog! Cade and Charlie's Mom Amanda
We’ve had our Good Dog! Charlie home with us for exactly three weeks today. She has adjusted amazingly and each day I feel such gratitude for what the entire Good Dog! team has does for our family. These dogs are incredible and to see the genuine life changing presence Charlie has brought in to our home makes me want to share our unique experience. The first week home we dove head first into activities, which helped with my confidence as her benevolent leader. The first two weeks we went on lots of grocery shopping, movies, and even church outings. But we hadn’t taken her out for an entire “working” day until this past Friday.