Let's raise some funds for service dogs!
Susquehanna Service Dogs raises and trains services dogs to assist children and adults with disabilities to become more independent. Founded in 1993 by a group of dedicated volunteers with a vision of training dogs to assist people to live full, independent lives in the community. Today, with the support of over 190 volunteers throughout the state, they have placed over 240 service dogs with individuals with disabilities throughout Pennsylvania and the surrounding states.
Typically they have approximately 100 puppies in training with puppy raisers, and place approximately 15 service dogs each year. SSD is a program of Keystone Human Services, and an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International.
Susquehanna Service Dogs makes sure that each of the dogs is healthy and has the right temperament to be a service dog. They use specially bred dogs that come from their breeding program and other assistance dog organizations. Each dog receives an in-depth health screening, is neutered or spayed, and undergoes a rigorous training program. Before being placed with a partner, the dog must display excellent manners at home and in public and perform a variety of specific behaviors and tasks on cue. Each dog is specially trained in specific tasks according to their partner’s needs. A service dog can open and close doors, retrieve various items, pull a manual wheelchair, find the phone, do balance work, turn light switches on and off, and much more. Hearing dogs respond to different sounds, which include a knock, the doorbell, oven timer, alarm clock, telephone and the person’s name. Also provide service dogs for individuals with autism and psychiatric disabilities, including PTSD. The dogs may learn tasks such as alerting to symptoms of anxiety, interrupting a repetitive behavior, and providing pressure for someone with autism.
The actual cost of training and placing each service dog or hearing dog is over $25,000. However, SSD only requires individuals to pay a $5,000 fee for service. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for residents of Pennsylvania, based on federal poverty guidelines. The additional funding comes from fundraising and donations by individuals, groups, and corporations. SSD does receive funding from the Capital Area United Way. SSD holds annual special events to raise money, and they participate in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community. All contributions stay in Pennsylvania and assist people in the community.
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