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.
We were fortunate to have been joined by past and present Good Dog! families, supporters, volunteers, trainers, breeders and guests -- all who came to show their support for our four graduating teams. Mistress of Ceremonies, Gabrielle Feldman represented The Drake Center for Veterinary Care who was also our SO Faithful Companion Award Recipient.
The ceremony was preceded by Team Training, a five day intense time of learning in Fallbrook, CA. It was a jam packed week for the Good Dog! Family Education and Support team – Rick Sylvester, Sam Quackenbush, Laura Sarvinski, Shiela Stenger and Laura Douglas, and for our students. The group setting and location of Team Training allows our parent handlers to focus on building the bond with their new dog while learning the essentials of service dog law, dog psychology, commands and more! In addition, Team Training eases the transition for our dogs once they are brought home and introduced to their child companions; rather than entering an entirely unfamiliar home, the dog has been well acquainted with the parent handler. This allows for the focus to be placed on forming a friendship between service dog and child.
Check out photos and videos from Team Training week and Graduation below.