One of the coolest experiences I ever had as a veterinary technician was assisting the AIM HI service dog training center on Fort Knox, KY. Before this experience, I didn’t know anything about service dogs. I’m thankful my sergeant selected me to participate in organizing the final graduation before the AIM HI center closed.
Pam Oughton and Bob Oden worked together to train the dogs with the help of inmates at the Fort Knox Jail. Each of the dogs learned skills to function as a service dog. They trained dogs to assist with mobility and some they trained to respond to seizures. It was amazing to watch the dogs practice their skills.
I recently heard how some people abuse the system. Some will get an online certification for their pet just so they can park in handicap spaces and take their dogs into public places like restaurants and stores. The problem with this is those online certificates are usually phony and it degrades the people who really need service dogs.
One boy who could benefit from a service dog is Noah Spaulding. He is a former cover child for the Crusade for Children. He has autism and WHAS reported that a service dog, Chip, has stopped injurious behavior in Noah soon after meeting him.
The organization Fourpaws for Abilities has asked the family to raise $14,000 to bring a dog home.
The family raised $9,189 via a campaign at firstgiving.com. The campaign is now closed.
“To date we have finished fundraising for Noah’s autism assistance dog,” according to a statement on the campaign page. “We sincerely appreciate everyone’s donation in helping Noah reach his goal.”
The next step in their journey is raising money to attend a two-week training class in Ohio. The class teaches how to handle service dogs appropriately.