Saturday, October 31, 2009

Puppy Love

We spent some time in the last week taking care of a couple of dogs for one of our neighbors while they were out of town. It was a lot of work, but also a good experience for my daughter. She now knows how much time and energy goes into really caring for a dog. Exercise, feeding, cleaning up after them, she helped me do all of these each day. I was surprised (and yes a little chagrined) when at the end of all of that work she was still telling me that she would like to have a dog. For now I am putting her off. I've given her a definite date far in the future that she can ask seriously about getting a dog. She already has worked out what color she wants it to be, what gender she wants it to be, and she has even picked out a name. Heaven help us.

I've posted before about the use of assistance dogs for children with autism. If and when we embark on the adventure of dog ownership I would love to find an animal that is suitable for use as an assistant, or at least one that is therapeutic, with a calming and regulating effect. All of this thinking about dogs made me really excited when I found this link to a story about the Lions service club which is now training service dogs for children with autism. The Lions have been involved with training service dogs for visual and hearing impairment for 25 years, but due to increasing rates of autism they have added a program to train dogs to meet this special need. You can check out the website for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides here.

According to their website there are plenty of ways that you can get involved:
  • Make a donation - The Lions Foundation receives no governmental assistance.
  • Adopt a puppy - Literally or figuratively. For a donation of $100 you can help defray veterinary care for a future guide dog and receive a certificate commemorating your assistance. Future guide dogs also require special training and socialization in their first year and the Lions Foundation uses foster families to provide that environment for their dogs. You can learn more by looking at the...
  • Opportunities page - where both paid and volunteer positions are listed, along with application form links.
  • Also check out the wish list.


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