Animals

Update: Rescue Dogs "Graduate" to New Jobs of Service

We first me them a year ago. Where are they now? You might be surprised!


It's been almost a year since we first introduced you to Canine Service Pals, a group that rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to become service dogs for young people with mobility disabilities.

Previous story: Rescue Dogs Rescue Young People With Special Needs

We wondered how the dogs we met -- and in some cases their owners -- are doing. We thought you might be curious too!

Nelly's 2nd Birthday, celebrated at the Center for Victims.

Jolly Rancher (re-named Nelly) had just started training when we visited the Canine Service Pals facility in Moon Township, outside of Pittsburgh. She is now working for the Center for Victims in Pittsburgh , going to court each day to comfort children who have been removed from homes where they were abused or neglected. "She meets them at the door when they reach the police station or the courthouse and will be them through that whole day," explained CSP President Ivy Fodor. "She is there to bring some calmness." Ivy says Nelly's puppy raiser knew someone who works at the Center for Victims, and they were so impressed with the dog's temperament they asked to "hire" her. Ivy says the CSP board agreed to go outside their original mission because the dog will still be helping children.

Pierogi says goodbye to puppy raiser family.

Pierogi went to a woman in a wheelchair. "Pierogi is amazing at fetching," said Ivy. "People with mobility issues drop things. That's one of the dog's every day tasks."

Licorice (L) and Flapjack (R) are available.

Ivy says they don't always know if a dog will be good at something like fetching until it matures. That's why two other dogs who were in training when we were there, Licorice and Flapjack, will also be adopted outside of CSP's initial mission. While talented and well-trained, they turned out not to be very good at retrieving. If you or someone you know needs a service dog for non-mobility issues -- for example, for emotional support, CSP is taking applications to adopt Licorice and Flapjack now (click here ).

Watch how well their puppy raisers have trained Flapjack and other CSP dogs at home:

Paige Behanna and her dog Cannoli (below), and Sydney Campbell and her dog Raisin are doing well and still coming to training classes to keep their dogs sharp. Ivy says CSP has become like a family for Paige and Sydney. "They're all in the same club of people with dogs with food names," she joked. The two young women are now good friends and look forward to the training sessions with Trainer Dan Gratchen (below), who is still at CSP.

Even though some things have changed, Ivy says one thing that has stayed the same is the fact that they have many more people who need dogs than funding to train them. The group is looking for corporate sponsors who would be willing to sponsor individual dogs from puppyhood, through training, placement and beyond . If you're interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, click here . If you'd like to donate, click here , or volunteer to become a puppy raiser click here .

While CSP has adjusted a little to accommodate their dogs' talents and their clients' needs organization's mission is still the same. "We are right here taking dogs from shelters and helping people in our community!"

(Images & video: Center for Victim's Dog Blog , Canine Service Pals Facebook page )

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