We've had our school therapy dog for 2 years and continue to receive wonderful support! ADAI is only a phone call away and are ALWAYS available to offer any help we might need. They offer a yearly meeting for all the school therapy dogs they have placed. It is a great time to hear stories about other therapy dogs, how other schools are using their dog and discuss on questions, ideas etc....
I cannot say enough about the positive impact ADAI made on our elementary school with the placement of a therapy dog, Veda. Through interviews and site visits, they matched us with our dear Veda making sure it was a great fit for both the dog and the school. They have been readily available for me to share any concerns and all the great stories of Veda's interactions with students, staff and the community. My joke with ADAI is that I am their only client because that is how they made me feel.
I am lucky enough to have one of the adai dogs. He is used for balance and has changed my life. The staff is wonderful. If you are having a problem with your dog you can call them at any time. I have found this organization to be very professional, wonderful dog trainers and giving you a well trained dog. Right from the beginning you're working as a team and it only gets better from there.
I am a volunteer who has worked as a puppy raiser/trainer and also participated in the Puppy Prison Program. The staff is knowledgeable and always willing to help when needed. They have always given me a chance to volunteer whenever I have asked and are also flexible when situations arise that require special attention. It has been an honor to help ADAI in their humanitarian efforts!
In 2003 my wife Karen was looking for a volunteer opportunity and visited ADAI for a class they were holding. At the class they had some of their dogs there including a beautiful 3 month old yellow lab named Chase. I think the trainers knew what they were doing because they let Karen hold Chase in her lap for the whole meeting. When she came home she told me how nice the meeting went and about the puppy. She said it was unfortunate that we were so busy and already had a Lab of our own or she would think about being a foster. She said she liked the organization and planned on volunteering in other capacities. A few weeks later at dinner she said one of the trainers had called her and told her that she seemed to have made a bond with Chase and that he was still available for Fostering. She knew I loved dogs, but I was not really keen about having a second dog right now. That is when I found out how serious she was. She said she would CLEAN UP ALL THE POOP FOR BOTH DOGS. I reluctantly agreed to meet the dog and she knew that was all it would take. Chase was a bit of a handful as a puppy, but with the help of the trainers Karen learned as much as he did. At the end of his two year training he had turned into a wonderful service dog and it was very hard to let him go. The only thing that got us thru it was watching the recipients bond with their new dogs and seeing that they not only received some of the physical help they needed, but a new best friend. It is truly amazing the difference the unconditional love from a dog can make to a person who needs it.
Over the past years we fostered many dogs (when I say we Karen did all the work and I had fun with them). Karen became more and more involved with the organization, helping with fund raisers, graduations, community events and more. Karen truly loved working with ADAI and the friends she made (both two and four legged).
In April of 2010 Karen was diagnosed with Lung Cancer which had spread to her brain. She had always been very healthy and it was much unexpected. It was at this time she found out once again she was not just there for ADAI, but the wonderful staff and volunteers of ADAI where there for her. They visited, sent cards, brought food, picked her up to go to the facility when she was able and much much more.
Karen would be the one writing this letter to tell you how great ADAI truly is, however she passed away on November 12, 2010. When you read this you will certainly see that writing is not something I normally do (you are lucky I at least have spell check) . It was one of the hardest letters I have ever written. It is also very important for people to know how much this organization helps people with disabilities to make their lives a little bit less challenging and happier.
ADAI has continued to offer me their kindness and support since Karen’s death and I hope that I can pay some of that back. Any support you can provide for this organization will be well used and appreciated.
Parkinson's Disease is slowly robbing me of many normal abilities that most of us take for granted. Balance is definately an issue for me. I contacted A.D.A.I. by email, and had an answer to my question emailed back to me in less than five minutes. That same afternoon, I received a phone call, and was interiewed over the phone.
In less than a week, I had papers to fill out that are required to register for an inquiry with A.D.A.I. I had to have my doctors O.K. and someone, not a family member, to fill out their opinion too on why a dog would be good for me, and if I would be good to the dog.
I had a home interview, and taping session. My husband had to personally tell the interviewer that he would support my having an assistance dog. Then I was interviewed extensively, and they video taped how I moved. They brought a dog with them, to see how I interacted with dogs. They were extremely thorough, and very kind.
They took all the information back to A.D.A.I. and the trainers of the dogs looked over the interview and studied my movements. They made the ultimate decision to whether a dog would help me or not. By April 1st, 2006, I was on their waiitng list for a walking-assistance dog.
Once a dog came that was the right height and the correct temperament for me, I was called. My husband and I went in June of 2008 to meet Jordan. He's a black labrador retiever with a truly 'regal' look about him. His coat shines in the sun, he has a magnificent build and he is taller than most labs. His brown eyes are extremely espressive. I fell in love with him immediately.
I went back for two weeks in July and I was trained on how to utilize the dog's ability to help me in my everyday life. The classes were professionally taught, and we had home work every night. I had to learn what word prompted the behavior I needed, at any given time.We took our dogs home with us the second night, and from then on they were with us all the time.
The school had a graduation party of sorts, as classes ended, in July of 2008. Each foster family who raised our individual dog from puppyhood, officially presented our dog to us, the new owner, that evening. Yet, the dogs stil were the property of A.D.A.I. There was a 3-6 month trial period, inwhich we had to continue to use the dog for the reasons we asked for, and the dogs had to be healthy, not overfed, or underfed.
The trainers are always ready to help with any problem or question that might come up, even once classes end. They are only an email or a phone call away. They are all just wonderful people, who love dogs.
Once the trial period ends, the trainer visits to take us on an outing.
The reason for this is very important. The public MUST be safe with my dog. My dog must be safe in public. I must be using the dog for the reasons he was trained for me. So we went through a series of tests, and Jordan and I passed with flying colors.
Once we had our certification papers, bought him a handicap license, and registered him as my mobility-assistance dog, Jordan became truly my dog. Now I owned him. free and clear. We have to feed him properly, make sure he gets enough exercise, keep him up on canine shots and have him checked by our veterinarian every six months. The expected care given to any life that is respected.
I love him! He is truly my best friend. He has turned out to be a therapy dog to almost everyone else in my family and extended family. I have super support from my immediate family, my church family, the Parkinson's disease community, as well as my friends and my doctors. Everyone just LOVES Jordan! He is especially gentle with children, no matter how large a group.
I couldn't have asked for a better dog, if the good Lord had handed me pencil and paper and asked me to write down what I would want in a service dog. Jordan was definately worth the wait!!!
Even though my husband and I weren't cut out to raise a service puppy in the end, the training we got from ADAI was top notch. They really know dog psychology and go above and beyond in every way. Awesome organization.
Scarlet and I were partnered in 2007. The training she received through Assistance Dogs of America, Inc. and nearby prisons has created a phenominal assistance dog. Scarlet has become the bridge between a person's anxiety about my disability and me. She helps me perform daily tasks that would be much more difficult, if not impossible, without her. Scarlet is my means to independence and she has opened doors of opportunity for me that had previously been sealed rather tightly. The Assistance Dog of America family of staff, volunteers and graduates respects me as an individual and holds me accountable for the care of a dog they worked so hard to train. Collectively, they are a model from which the rest of society could learn.
Next week, our first foster dog goes into service. We are a foster home for ADAI and have found the experience to be in one word, wonderful! The staff of ADAI is always ready and able to answer questions, the recipients are so very grateful and who cannot smile when with the dogs? While we will miss Jada, we know she will be with someone who loves her and will utilize her many talents to make their everyday life so much better!
At the age of 45, I was bordering on becoming a recluse due to my disability. In 2005, after partnering with Brooke, a now 8 year old Black Lab we have travelled the world together, literally! She is my right leg, ankle and foot which do not bend, she is my back which is painful to bend, she is my balance which is non-existent without her, she is my helper, friend and companion. No longer do I have fears of going to the grocery store, or travelling alone to another city. I have never fallen in the 6 years that I have been partnered with Brooke when she is at my side. There is no way to thank those involved in her training, and there is no price to this peace of mind! Thanks to all who consider donating to this charity which has made such a difference in my life.