Putnam Service Dogs provides free Service Dogs to people with physical disabilities other than blindness.
Most of our applicants waiting for our Service Dogs need a dog to retrieve dropped items, as most are in wheelchairs. Here’s what we are looking for in a service dog:
- Dogs big enough to be easily stroked by someone sitting in a wheelchair
- A Service Dog has to want to help their person.
- People-oriented dogs needed.
- A Service Dog needs to navigate new situations, possibly crowded ones. Confident, friendly dogs needed.
A lot of people helped us find the puppies in our newest class.
Puppy #1, Brooklyn: Contrary to our model of using mixed breed rescue puppies, we chose Puppy #1 from a litter of 7 at a breeder of Standard Poodles in Albany, NY. The breeder approached us, wanting to donate a puppy to our school. We’d had requests for hypoallergenic service dogs, so jumped at the chance.
Puppy #2, Benji, and Puppy #3, Bhodie: North Shore Animal League of America (NSALA), brought in a batch of puppies from Tennessee that fit our criteria. Donna Gleason and Nancy Teague chose 2 puppies out of the 6 the expert assessor at NSALA thought were the most promising.
Puppy #4, Bailey: Homeward Bound, a Mississippi rescue group, where Allie, our 13 month-old star Black Lab mix had come to us through ROAR in Ridgefield, had been following Allie’s progress on Putnam Service Dogs Facebook and Instagram pages. The group contacted us about another star Black Lab mix puppy they had. They sent a video of the 7 week-old puppy retrieving a ball and wagging his tail when bringing it back. We were sold! Rich Dawkins, a dog-loving truck driver, brought the puppy up with him on his weekly drive to New England in his huge truck. We met them at a rest stop in Danbury.
The new class is training at the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield. The church also supports people with physical disabilities through building access ramps.
Putnam Service Dogs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Find out more at putnamservicedogs.org, PO Box 573, Brewster, NY
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