Washington, Kan. — This weekend KSDS Assistance Dogs will be graduating a handful of teams after spending a couple of years raising the pups and training them to assist individuals.
Bryce Dolan, Director of Marketing & Fundraising, said when the puppies are born, they take care of them until they are about 8 weeks old, and then they are given to volunteer puppy raisers.
Those puppy raisers teach them house manners, attune them to everyday routines, socialize them and teach them basic obedience until they are about 18 months old, then they had back to KSDS. They then receive their formal training before being paired with a student.
Once the pair test out, a graduation ceremony is held.
A graduation is being held this weekend on Saturday, it’ll be the first in-person ceremony that they’ve held since COVID-19 struck.
The organization provides three different types of service dogs; service dogs to help people with physical impairments, guide dogs to help those visually impaired, and facility dogs who help anyone and can be found in places like counselor offices or hospitals and clinics.
Dolan says they use three different breeds for the assistance dogs.
The person receiving the dog won’t know which dog they will be paired up with until the day they are paired for training. Unfortunately, if you need an assistance dog, there is just under a three year wait for a dog.
The organization’s only location is in Washington but they place these teams all over the nation.
This Saturday nine teams are graduating, but eight will be in attendance. The ceremony starts at 11 am and once its complete, you can get a tour of the KSDS campus.
KSDS Assistance Dogs Inc, is a 501 (c)3 Non-Profit organization and is funded solely on donations and fundraisers. If you would like to donate you can visit their website or call them at 785-325-2256. Dolan says you can also donate anything and everything that an organization housing dogs would need besides food.