I started volunteering shortly after moving to Georgia at Canine Assistants, a non-profit 501c3 organization in Milton, Georgia, that raises, trains and places service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities, seizure disorders, or other special needs. It helped me in many ways, seeing how these service dogs helped people with disabilities have a new outlook on life with their dog at their side, and I felt and still feel privileged to be able to help in any way possible. I worked for many years as a volunteer and was fortunate to have Caesar, who was the first male breeder for Canine Assistants, come to live with us. Once he retired from this job, he became my Spokesdog as I started working for Canine Assistants. We helped to raise awareness about Service Dogs and disabilities and did many presentations, disability awareness programs in school as well as reading programs, and so much more.
Croix is a 5-year-old Golden Lab, born, raised, and trained at Canine Assistants. Croix had been placed with a recipient but was returned after 1½ years to Canine Assistants. At the same time that this occurred, I had just retired Caesar. Croix was 2½ years old at this time and after meeting us and Caesar, he came home with us and became my new Spokesdog. Croix has become an amazing Ambassador for Canine Assistants with his sweet disposition and gentle manner. He loves to please and go to schools, businesses, etc. We were very fortunate when we were asked by Ann, the Director of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association®, how I thought Croix would do peer visiting with me and my daughter, Eileen. Ann had met Croix at an event we both attended and was very taken with him. We ultimately got permission to take him with us to CHOA and to Pathways where he is an amazing visitor! He has really found his calling in this new role and enjoys it as much as everyone he visits with. Croix makes a huge difference, not only to the patients, but also to the families and staff.
For information about Canine Assistants go to: www.canineassistants.org.