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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Dogs for Better Lives

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Deaf & Hearing Impaired Centers, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Dogs for Better Lives (formerly Dogs for the Deaf) professionally trains dogs to help people and enhance lives while maintaining a lifelong commitment to all dogs we rescue or breed and the people we serve.

Results: In fiscal year 2019-20, we professionally trained and placed 11 Assistance Dogs across the United States. 64 dogs were "career changed" (not graduating) and placed in forever homes. The Autism Assistance Dog program's footprint continues to expand beyond Oregon, to now include Washington State and California. We are also working to grow our volunteer programs, including dog walkers, office assistance, national ambassadors, and volunteer canine recruiters. We're currently in the process of expanding nationally, our on-the-ground presence with staff and volunteers. In 2019 we launched a satellite office in Seattle and in early 2020 a satellite office in Fresno, CA. Satellite offices will provide us with a more direct and efficient way of regionally placing dogs with clients, performing follow-ups, engaging volunteer dog/puppy raisers, and providing direct outreach to the key communities we serve. We're continuing to grow our breeding program and have a strong need for puppy raisers across the west coast. Visit our website for more details.

Target demographics: people who are deaf or hard of hearing, professionals who work with people with disabilities, and/or a child on the autism spectrum

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: Hearing Assistance Dogs (nationally), Facility Dogs (nationally), and Autism Assistance Dogs (OR, WA, and CA)

Community Stories

90 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Steven F.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a great cause and well needed in many occasions for many reasons and brings a better quality of life to many who need it

1

Donor

Rating: 5

It’s amazing to see all the ways that Noodle has made such an incredible impact on my wife’s Maria’s life since she got him. Dogs for Better Lives did an outstanding job in training and matching Noodle with Maria. There continued help they they provide after placement is fantastic and we are in year 4 of having Noodle. Thank you so much for all you do. I have included some pictures of Noodle enjoying some relaxation and goofing off.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dogs for Better Lives is one of the most authentic agencies I’ve dealt with in my life! Not Only do they match people with a service dog, but they search for dogs who need rescuing from a shelter! What a mission!!
Two United and two rescuing one another. As a member of the deaf community, DBL has helped me by giving me independence and the best companion ever!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been aware and supporter of DFBL for over 15 years (since they were Dogs for the Deaf). They do and and have done fabulous work for people and children needing assistance. I will be continuing to support them

Donor

Rating: 5

Always highly rated by Charity Navigator for best practices and use of donations. Been a supporter for a decade, giving service dogs to people who need them for no cost, and providing for their care forever. They also rescue shelter dogs, and train them for hearing dogs for folks who are deaf or profoundly hard of hearing. If a dog proves not to be suitable as a service dog, they are adopted out as companion animals to well screened applicants. They really care for their dogs, and the people who get them. Can't recommend highly enough.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dogs For Better Lives is a fabulous organization that trains dogs to give children/people and dogs a better life! I was on the receiving end of one of their program dogs working to calm me during a robotics competition that was making me a little wound up watching the team I was coaching. Incredible! After that I started volunteering to walk their dogs and am now fostering one. Love DBL!

1 Nikki M.6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love them! My friends dogs was career changed from GDB and went on to live out a wonderful carrier with this organization

1 Winona S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to have two service dogs from DBL; and will get my third one in October. The training and follow up done by this organization cannot be compared. They truly go the extra mile to make sure clients and dogs are well matched and make a good team.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm deaf and have been fortunate enough to receive two hearing dogs from Dogs for Better Lives (formerly Dogs for the Deaf). I'm the Chapter Leader of a local HLAA Chapter and travel in my RV. My hearing dog attends all the HLAA meetings regularly and is a favorite of all those who attend the meetings. She definitely puts a smile on everyone's faces. More importantly, for me, is that the wheels of my RV do not leave the driveway without her. She alerts me to my cell phone, a knock on the side of the RV and the smoke detector. She affords me the security that allows me to travel confidently not to mention making new friends wherever we travel. Since I am deaf, I am shy about approaching new people and introducing myself. Glitter draws people in and when they approach, it's an opportunity for me to explain her work and how I came to receive her. A win-win when it comes to goodwill for service dogs! The training and the follow-up I have received from DBL has been amazing. They came down and trained us as a team and have been available every step of the way in her training and journey. I am so happy to be a recipient of one of their amazing dogs.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter's bff works here and the photos that I now get to see and the stories I get to read about the training the dogs go through and the people they have helped make the world seem a better place. Proud of this wonderful organization.

1 Barbara Smith C.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a member of the BPO Does and have been on our local Drove's committee to raise funds for Dogs for Better Lives (formerly Dogs for the Deaf) for nearly 25 years, many of them as chairperson. I have been very impressed with the people and dogs that I have met over the years. I am proud to be a supporter of this organization. Some day it may be me who needs assistance from one of their trained dogs. I also appreciate the fact that they rescue dogs to train.

Twice I have raised funds by cutting my hair, $$ per inches cut. The funds were donated to DBL and my hair sent to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for wigs for cancer patients.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Dogs for Better Lives is a wonderful organization. Training dogs for the deaf is a life changer for so many people. It’s a charity I’m always happy to donate to.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A truly excetional team committed to creating positive human / dog relationships that enhance the quality of everyone's life. From day one, each puppy is loved and cared for like a treasured family member, trained with positive reinforcement, and thoughtfully placed in an environment where all can thrive. Seeing these remarkable dogs in action is a testament to the power of love.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have received 3 hearing dogs from this nonprofit and absolutely love working with them. They are always professional, considerate, and respectful in their interactions with me. I believe this is why they consistently rate at highest levels on charity navigator. They are my number one nonprofit.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dogs for Better Lives rescued and trained my first hearing dog, Chuckie to help me hear sounds after my apartment burned down and I was the last one out due to my hearing loss. He helped me sleep better knowing I had help to hear emergency alarms and knocks. I'm on my third dog from them and love every minute I spend with this organization. Awesome team!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working with people who have disAbilities when someone needs a service dog and can't travel my first recommendation is Dogs For Better Lives
The people are great to work with
They provide a win win situation saving and training shelter dogs and sharing the benefits with people who other wise could not have access to a Service Dog

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was my first time having a home hearing assistance dog (Weston). Everything is new to me but the transition and help that I have received has been wonderful. I was truly blessed with an amazing dog! Weston has been my second set of ears so to say and is a very happy dog (which means happy handler!)!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My hearing assistance dog, Morris, and I have been together since 2016. At home he helps me with the door knock, alarm clock, oven timer, smoke alarm and dropped objects. Outside, while on walks, he alerts me to people and cars nearby. He's very loving, affectionate and a lot of fun to play fetch with! I have a safer, richer life because of him and because of Dogs For Better Lives. I love them all.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a client of Dogs for Better Lives which used to be called Dogs for the Deaf, for over 19 years. They gave me my first hearing assistance dog, Dazzle, on 9-8-2001. I enjoyed him and his work for 13 years. Four years ago I received my second hearing assistance dog, Morris. Both of these dogs have enriched my life in countless ways. I am forever grateful to Dogs For Better Lives.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

A donation has been made in honor of Elizabeth Wheeler who is an incredible teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. She has taught us so much about how to support and advocate for students with hearing loss. Thank you, Liz!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Had Fizza,my hearing dog, for 7 years and is my best friend any helper. She helps me with everything concerning my hearing and also works for my husband as well. She makes us laugh and is a wonderful companion. She also has saved me from being hit by a car while walking on the side of the road. She now understands two languages and can spell. She's worth her weight in gold and we highly recommend anyone needing an assistance dog to consider DOGS FOR BETTER LIVES.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a disabled person who will eventually need a guide dog, I am thankful that people care enough to do this for the disabled.
I value their work and hope they are very successful!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Dogs for Better Lives after considerable research into hearing assistance dogs. After reading everything I could find on-line, I started asking them questions. Not directing the question to particular parties, but pot luck through informational requests, blind emails, etc.

What I found was that there answers never varied - what I was told up front held true through my dog's placement and the now nearly two years partnered with a DBL dog - Floyd.

DBL staff did what they said they would do, provided what they promised and came through when I needed them.

Sometimes non-profits don't do that for one reason or another. Their consistency, their access, their follow-on work with me and Floyd is the reason I recommend them to anyone in need. And the primary reason I work as an ambassador for DBL.

They do good work. Today, tomorrow and for the past 40+ years. It's an enviable track record for any agency.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dogs for Better Lives is a fantastic organization. I am a psychologist and I run an anxiety clinic. I was fortunate enough to discover DBL and applied for a dog because I knew that would be helpful to many of my anxious clients. After surveying me for what type of dog would best fit my practice, DBL selected and trained a dog for me and it has worked out even better that I had hoped for. My dog, Georgie, is probably more popular with my clients than I am! And, if for some reason, Georgie can't come to work with me on a particular day, my clients always ask where she is and when will she be coming back.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am profoundly deaf and I was placed with the most wonderful hearing assistance dog, Mindy, on 12/07/2018. DBL has been amazing; they not only care and follow up on Mindy from 3000 miles away, but they have also been a source of invaluable support to me in my journey. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I couldn’t have gotten the confidence boost and personal growth in the past two years if it wasn’t for DBL and Mindy.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dogs for Better Lives provided me a hearing service dog four years ago, Roux has helped me to feel more relaxed at home knowing he is there to alert me to sounds, he’s an amazing dog who provides a great service and companionship. During the recent Oregon wildfires Roux assisted me in knowing when a deputy was at my door to tell us to evacuate and he stayed by my side while staying at friends, never faltering in his sound work. Shortly after we safely returned home, Roux got sick and was hospitalized for ten days. DBL was there to provide emotional and financial support, thanks to their help Roux is home and back to his sound work. DBL has been a lifesaver for me, and Royx.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first learned of Dogs for Better Lives when they had a different name from my sister. We visited their facility and got a tour in 2017. I hesitated signing up as I do have hearing when I wear my aids and figured best not apply for a dog when others may need it more than me.
I changed my mind and after my application was approved I was rewarded with my best friend, Flynn. He's a home assistance dog and helps me with the door knocking, smoke alarm, and oven timer and I test him weekly. Mostly gets an A but gets spoiled sometimes and drops to a B. He was trained for notifying me when the phone rings but I stopped that as too many robo calls and he'd be crazy running around sometimes 6 times a day for nothing.
All of my interaction with the original trainer, and the follow up trainer more than met my expectations. These folks know what they are doing and have a quality facility and great employees.
About the only thing that bothers me is being unable to have a companion for Flynn. So we make do with the cats and 110 pound tortoise.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Janis and I'm a 64 year old woman that received a Cochlear implant in 2017 on the left side. When I have to take my Coheaer off I have very little Hearing in my right ear so I needed a Hearing Dog to alert me to sounds at home. I received my Certified Hearing Dog from "Dogs For Better Lives" 2 months ago and My Hearing Dog (Casey) is a trained 3 year old Labrador Retriever that alerts me to the telephone, door knocking, doorbell, oven timer and most important The Smoke Alarm. My Dog is well behaved in public and is a wonderful companion. Casey loves His walks and when I let Him run without His leash He always returns when I call His name. Casey enjoys Human companionship and He is a loving Dog. Everyone that meets Casey wants one just like him. "Dogs For Better Lives" has provided a safety net for me since I live alone and can't hear without my Cochlear. Thank You "Dogs For Better Lives" for providing me with Casey to lead a more quality of Life on my Hearing Loss Journey. Janis Singleton

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had a service dog from DBL for over 2 years. The support given to their clients is really exceptional. When Tracy was placed with me I had a hands-on week of training so that I could learn the commands Tracy already knew. More important was the training I received to enable me to teach Tracy new tasks. There is monthly followup and at one year a visit from a trainer to make sure things are going well. I can get help at any time via phone or email and the Facebook Client Group is invaluable for keeping skills up to date. People in grocery stores, airplanes, and restaurants have commented on Tracy’s exceptional behavior. I am a huge fan on this nonprofit - top notch!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dogs for Better Lives saw fit to place Deacon, an incredible Facility Dog, with me this year. As a special education teacher working with students with learning differences, medical diagnosis and autism spectrum disorder, Deacon is a perfect fit for my classroom and my students. I can not begin to express how exceedingly fortunate I feel to have been chosen for Deacon. The care, time and love that went into his impeccable training from Dogs for Better Lives has made him the most amazing gift. Deacon is trained to work not only with my students in calming, redirection and motivation, but he's also willing and happy to work with my colleagues during this unusual (and difficult) distance learning season.
DBL has made the whole process seamless and have gone above and beyond to ensure that the transition for Deacon and me was perfect.
I look forward to many years with this amazing animal and to sharing all of the gifts he brings with my students.

1 Becca Be

Client Served

Rating: 5

All around amazing organization! Highly trained and passionate staff with a crystal clear mission that stands out wherever they go and with whomever you meet. From the Executive Director to any and every other person- everyone is really wonderful to work with.

1 Shayna S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My service dog Lileu came from Dogs for Better Lives! She is such an amazing part of my life and I can’t imagine the day to day struggles I’d have if she wasn’t around. She is my little furry hero

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great tour by Kelly. Incredible organization. Does good work in the community and beyond.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

So inspiring and such a great cause. They do more than what I thought. Incredible place.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This was so fabulous to learn all that you do for the hearing impaired And service dogs for the autistic assistance dogs. Thank you Kelly, great tour guide.....Destini & her assistance dog to show us what she can do!

1 Samantha S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love this business. So many helpful people who want the best for people who need 4-legged help in their lives. I love my dog that I got a couple months ago. She’s perfect and I couldn’t be more thankful for Dogs for Better Lives!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Very nice. Thank you. Eleven member group had a nice informative tour.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Everyone was great. What a wonderful organization. I am so proud of you and I thank you.
For all your good work.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Long time supporter! Thank you for your good service.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Awesomeeee tour:) Nice place! Thank you for being so great.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful tour, very informative. Beautiful facility.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our family really enjoyed the tour and learning more about Dogs for the Deaf. Definitely worth visiting to learn about this great organization!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Known through Oregon Good Sam, had a very inspiring tour. Can't imagine a better place to contribute or volunteer. Such great work for people needing assistance as well as all the rescued dogs. Thanks for the tour and all of our great work..

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Very knowledgeable and helpful people. Great environment.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer by walking dogs once a week. It's very rewarding and how I found our little Olive .
She has found her forever home.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love Dogs for the Deaf! Donate to this wonderful organization because my niece is deaf and I see how she could become isolated without these wonderful people and their rescue dogs!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic I am so much more wiser now and more appreciate it thank you so much for being here

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I came out for a tour and general info on volunteering here. The staff is incredibly helpful and friendly, and all are so excited by the wonderful mission of this amazing organization! Kudos to them!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful tour today with Fernando. He answered all of our questions, and showed us the facility. We look forward to finding a career change dog that will be right for us!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We came to Dogs for the Deaf today to ask lots of questions, watch an informational video, tour the facility, and even got to meet a couple dogs in training and see a dog demonstration. Wonderful! Very friendly, knowledgable staff and volunteers. My daughter cannot wait to start her application process. Thank you!

Donor

Rating: 5

Wonderful idea and work. Rescuing the dogs makes it even more fantastic . A great place to donate.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our visit was extraordinary! Staff and volunteers were so kind and considerate while taking us on tour. We learned so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you! We will come again. Our family MUST see this. We are so very grateful. Our dog Indy and this organization has saved my sister, Phoebe's life. Saved our family, really. Thanks again. Rose Nikas ( sister of Phoebe D.).

Angela175

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I came here to learn about how I could benefit from a hearing dog due to my hearing disability and I learned so much . The staff were very knowledgeable and TRUELY loved what they do. I am looking forward to working with them when I am reading for a hearing dog.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love Dogs for the Deaf! Our Bailey was a career change dog from DFD, and he was a great addition to our family. Thanks DFD for all you do for dogs and their people

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This place is awesome! We learned a lot about how it was started and how it's kept going. My niece is very interested in possibly working here someday, I will continue to encourage these ideas and passions!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received my hearing dog, Bear from DFD in 1999 and he served me well until his passing in 2013. We live in North Carolina. Today I feel so emotional, getting a chance to tour DFD where Bear received his excellent training. I imagine him walking and playing around the complex when he was not hard at work learning to respond to sounds. Thank you DFD and Good Sam for providing me with a wonderful, well loved companion!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you for the tour,, my volunteers appreciated learning about your facility. Have a great summer and please keep up the good work you are doing!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you very much for the tour of the facility. I believe this organization serves a great purpose. I hope that you can find ways to promote and expand to help both dogs and people. I recommend visiting if you are in the Medford, OR area.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I reallym enjoyed my experience here. The volunteers do amazing work, and I am so glad that DFD exists!
PS. cute dogs

Donor

Rating: 5

Good people very friendly!!!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff was more than helpful and just a wonderful establishment threw and threw. It's an amazing experience working with people that trully care

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I liked it I came with my class from scenic ms. And it was great seeing the dogs.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This an amazing place that has a huge heart for families and dogs.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Had a great time on the tour. The staff was very friendly and fun and they run a great program!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Awesome facility we enjoyed the tour very much! Frank was great!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

thanks for giving my business Total landscape and irrigation the opportunity to be apart of such a wonderful cause , and we hope to have a long and wonderful friendship

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

WE just finished a wonderful tour of your facility. Thank you for all you do. It was fascinating and informative. All our questions were answered.