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.