by Delaney Custer
With shelter in place orders enacted in communities across the US, it can feel like everything is being put on hold. However, members of the Good Dog! Team are still hard at work training the next generation of autism service dogs during the COVID-19 outbreak. Desperate times don’t always call for desperate measures. It just takes a bit of creativity and a whole lot of love to help these Good Dogs! get ready to be someone’s new best friend.
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.
The below is a visual timeline of our process for placing Autism Service Dogs with Families.
We are thrilled to be recognized by the Petco Foundation and Natural Balance Inc. for our work with service animals. Good Dog! has received a $2,500 grant to fully educate a new class of handlers in all aspects of service dog ownership; helping both animals and people to live their best lives.
Our teams are well on their way to establishing bonds with their new four legged family members and are busy learning all they need to know to be great autism service dog handlers.
A graduation ceremony to celebrate the teams will be held at National University in La Jolla on Saturday July 29th. rsvp>>
by Laura Sylvester
Ever wonder how service dogs get their names? At Good Dog! Autism Companions the child and family always get to decide their pup's forever name. This is how child and dog take one of their first steps in bonding.
by Laura Sylvester
Two months ago we celebrated the graduation of the Good Dog! Autism Companions Class of 2015. Presently we are hard at work matching our newest teams for our next rising class. When we begin matching potential canine and human pairs, there are several factors to consider. Good Dog! uses a three tiered system to evaluate personality compatibility, the child’s specific needs, and family environment.
When our service pups in-training reach approximately 16 months of age we begin the matching process, where we assess for potential compatibilities between our dogs and the parent handlers. Using Bonnie Bergin’s “Social Styles” scale, we assess both the parent and dog’s levels of assertiveness and responsiveness. Our team plots both the dog and parent’s traits onto a grid to see how they fall in relation to one another. Bergin’s “Social Styles” allow us to classify each person and pup into four basic categories: analytical, driver, amiable, and expressive. Each category can be further divided into subcategories: analytical-analytical, driver-analytical, amiable-analytical, expressive-analytical, driver-driver, driver-amiable, drver-expressive, amiable-amiable, amiable-expressive, expressive-expressive, and expressive-driver.