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2017 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

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

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.

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

wei are members of a Good Sam chapter and long wondered about where our donations went

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Well worth the visit. A worthy mission and program helping dogs and people reach their full potential

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love coming to visit the dogs for the deaf! The staff is always so accomidating to the needs of the tours,answering questions ,and we asked to watch the longer version of the video they show & without hesitation they said yes

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful work is being done at Dogs for the Deaf. This is a nonprofit that is certainly deserving of the donations of this community. We especially love the lifetime commitment that the organization pledges to the animals they take in. It makes a big difference to know that if you make a donation, the money goes directly to the dogs, who will never end up in a shelter again. Great work!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff was nice. The tour wasn't just your average tour. It was fun for the family! :D

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an amazing place and such a great mission! The tour was really informative. Thanks for everything you are doing.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you for the great tour. Very informative. Amazing what is accomplished here! Thank you for all you do!!!
Ed & Alyce Masters
San Diego, CA

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We are visiting from California. We love the tour and the demo from Bonzai!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization is obviously well-run and fully dedicated to thei r cause. An excellent venue for volunteer work and financial support.

Judith Stevens

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great work being done here. Thank you all for your time.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great tour and great organization! Love that they rescue twice! Spent an hour here with four kids ages 11 and up plus grandparents and we all loved it! We are all dog lovers but we would have found this interesting either way.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dogs for the deaf is a good program for the animals and the people in need . It is a privilege for myself and my company to be of service at DFD , and the staff is very friendly .
Michael Cuccia Total Irrigation LLC

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This was our second time stopping here, and I am so glad we did. It was a wonderful learning experience, and I recommend coming if you are passing through, or just looking for something to do! We met spine of the dogs and she was really sweet. Very fun!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great work they are doing here. Rescuing dogs and helping people

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I brought my children to come and tour it was wonderful. We loved seeing and hearing how these awesome dogs are helping others. Everyone is so friendly. I highly recommend the tour.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

This is a neat place to exspand your mind about dogs for the deaf! We had an amazing time with Lucy the demo dog,she is very smart,I'm sure ALL the dogs here are just as amazing as she is! What a blessing Roy karat was to keep a place in his heart for people and dogs!! Whoooo hoo

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We went for the tour at Dogs for the Deaf while driving through Medford. What a wonderful place it is! I am amazed at how well the dogs are trained and how committed they are to their animals. Jenny, Kelly, and Lucy did our demo and were fantastic. We learned so much during our visit and plan to return very soon!

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I see that the reviews here are pretty old. There is no doubt that the dogs placed by DFD make a wonderful difference in people's lives. But the sad truth is that DFD is a struggling organization with many problems and a lack of leadership is making the problems worse.

As I write this in January 2015, DFD has only placed 2 dogs in the last seven months. And yet they have an annual operating budget in excess of $2million. What are they doing with that money? They're certainly not rescuing, training and placing dogs! But they do own TWO country club memberships for the enjoyment of their management team. They hired a new CEO who is making more than $100K per year, and yet is inexperienced, does not understand nonprofits, and has managed to lose almost half the DFD staff - including nearly all of their dog trainers - since he took the reins. DFD is dishonest with donors about how money is being used -- their administrative and fundraising expenses are MUCH higher than they claim. They use very creative accounting to keep the number artificially low. Read their 990 carefully and you can see that.

And finally, although DFD was founded to rescue animals from shelters and train them to be hearing dogs, they have now decided -- at the urging of their new CEO - to start a breeding program. If you're interested in animal welfare, this should make you angry. Rather than reduce the numbers of dogs in shelters, DFD will now start contributing to the problem by producing puppies - many of which will not pass the training programs and will be discarded. They will rescue even fewer dogs than they do now. To me, all of this speaks to an organization that is falling apart. I don't support them philosophically anymore, and I sure wouldn't give my money to them.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dogs For the Deaf in Central Point, Oregon. It is the oldest and largest training center for hearing dogs in the United States. These dogs are rescued from shelters, given special training and then placed free of charge with deaf people nationwide and in Canada and Puerto Rico. Dogs For the Deaf receives NO Government funding. Donations from individuals, service clubs, businesses and foundations enable this special work to continue providing the priceless gifts of love, freedom, independence and life itself. Dogs unable to successfully become a certified hearing dog are adopted out to loving homes and are never returned to a shelter. It is my favorite place on earth

4 jen20

Client Served

Rating: 5

Three years ago, I was blessed enough to receive one of Dogs For the Deaf's highly trained Hearing Dogs. Since Hattie has come into my life the possibilities of my life are endless. Before Hattie came into my life, I walked through my home filled with fear and dread due to the sounds I was missing in my daily life. The severe to profound hearing loss I have does not allow me to hear the sounds in life that make everyday living a simple pleasure. I would lay awake at night consumed with fear that I would not hear the smoke detector if it were to alert me to any impending danger. I burnt many meals because I did not hear the oven timer, company rarely was greeted at the door because I failed to hear them knock. I would walk through my home with the telephone in hand with the hopes I would hear it ring if someone were to call. Now, I am no longer filled with dread and fear, thanks to Dogs for the Deaf. I often say the day Hattie was placed with me was the day my life truly began. Without Dogs for the Deaf training and placing Hearing Dogs for those of us with hearing loss the independence and peace of mind I currently posess would not be possible. By training and placing Hearing Dogs with individuals like myself, they enable us to take a disability and change it into infinite possibilities. I can sleep a peaceful nights sleep, I can eat a well cooked meal and I now know when family and friends stop by to visit. Hattie has transformed my life in ways I never knew was possible. There are truly no words to describe what an exceptional organization Dogs for the Deaf truly is and there are no words to describe what they have given to my life.

4 nancy-plasman-otte

Client Served

Rating: 5

Eleven years ago, Dogs for the Deaf graciously matched me with a certified hearing dog, my first, when I was 52 years old and had been severely hearing-impaired all my life. Although educated with a master's degree and having taught deaf and hard-of-hearing children for many years, living life independently and well (I thought), my angel dog Harley has changed my life to the point of giving me independence and quality of life I never dreamed existed. After spending all my time listening for sounds, Harley took over the work of listening so that I can spend time in thought, or reading for pleasure, or relaxing in nonthought or nonaction. I am able to relax, be more effective in my life, be a better teacher, and a happier person as a result of Harley's help both when there is a sound and when there isn't. Dogs for the Deaf's staff is gifted in the work of training, matching, and placing. No one except a recipient, close friend, or family member can fully appreciate the value of a hearing dog that is well-trained and well-matched. My husband of 40 years wishes we had always had a hearing dog because his life is so much easier and my life is considerably better with the dog than it was without. Dogs for the Deaf, I will never have enough right words to thank you for the difference you and Harley have made in our lives.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

All that I can say is that, I know for a fact, Dogs For The Deaf has made a significant difference in the life of one of my special friends. She struggled her entire life with a hearing impairment, always being misunderstood, because her meniere's disease was not something that very many people had ever heard of, much less knew how to deal with. It wasn't until she & Hattie were united, that she is now able to live a full life, free of all of the fears that she once had. Thank you, Dogs For The Deaf, for making it possible for Jen & Hattie to become an awesome team.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

DFD is an amazing group of people. I work closely with their web/marketing staff and continually am impressed with their love of the company/clients/dogs. I find they consistently show why they have been helping people for so long by their desire to fulfill a need in the community and their compassion for their clients. The dogs are treated well, their customers even better, and their staff shows their dedication everyday. I proudly support DFD and all they have done! Good job, keep up the great work and THANK YOU for everything you do.