The inaugural program for Stray to Service has demonstrated demand! The program started in November 2019, with pilot funding provided by the Irwin Wilson Foundation. COVID-19 restricted our access to the VA, costing 3 months of training. Despite that we’ve had great success! The program was originally intended for Veterans, but demand from spouses of Veterans as well as survivors of domestic abuse and / or childhood trauma have applied. The website StrayToService.org is specifically devoted to the program. How it works: The Dog and Cat Shelter performs Behavioral Assessments on stray or surrendered dogs. If they pass the initial testing, they are placed in Shan Foster’s “Boot Camp”. Once partnered, they train together until they pass all tests consistent with ADA requirements. Since November the Stray to Service program has trained and graduated 3 dogs with 2 Veterans and 1 Civilian. Two pairs are in training and 2 more Veteran applicants are approved and waiting for their dog. This is an expensive program to maintain, but our operation is incredibly efficient compared to other Service Dog operations. If you would like to support this program, please go to the website StraytoService.org and learn more!
Cedar has done amazing right from the start! He’s so smart and caught onto commands very easily, taking him out in public was a breeze. Cedar’s such a goofy, playful dog that other dogs and people can’t help but adore him. He loves to play ball and work just the same. Cindy Popp has done very well fostering him, teaching him house manners and keeping up with his basic obedience on a daily basis
Marian Eccles, the founder of the Unleashed Foundation, fostered Nara as a pup helping her to learn basic obedience and housemanners. It has really helped her transition into service dog training. She’s very smart, responsive, and affectionate. She gets along and plays well with other dogs. She absolutely adores people. She doesn’t care much for playing ball, but loves her treats!
Hank is a happy-go-lucky and also highly intelligent Blue Heeler mix. On his off time he loves to play with the ball, but while in his working vest, he is all business. Hank is an athletic and highly social dog - with people as well as other dogs. He will require a handler that is engaging and able to help Hank burn off his energy in his "off" time (ie throw the ball endlessly). He is approximately two and half years-old. Hank has had all the Stray to Service training in order to for fill his purpose in a Veteran's life.
Daisy is a hound cross. She is approximately one and a half years old and is very athletic. She is super social with other dogs and very good with people. This dog is a fun dog because she can fulfill many purposes in life, whether it be support work, or some kind of detection job. She lives to work. We are looking for a suitable purpose for Daisy, as long as that someone is willing to put the work and effort into her. A rare find.
Gilmore arrived as a stray from a neighboring Native American Reservation. We know he must have Blue Heeler but we're unsure as to where all the hair came from. His disposition was decidedly low key and his ability to perform as an Emotional Support Animal was immediately evident to all the staff! Marian from the Unleashed Foundation took Gilmore as a foster and worked with him everyday for 3 weeks. He learned all the basic obedience commands and house rules. She continued working with the family that adopted him for their 6 year old girl who required an ESA. Thanks to the Unleashed Foundation for working with our Stray to Service Program!