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Assistance Dogs Of The West

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: Dedicated to providing trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities in order to increase independence and self reliance, through educational and vocational programs.

Programs: We continued to teach students to train dogs to help our clients. Our student trainer programs encompass a varied spectrum of learning forums including classes in mainstream schools, after school and summer programs, and programs for children and adults with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities. This work enriches our communities through building skills and inclusion within mainstream (50%) and at risk student (50%) audiences. We continued our highly successful "summer camp" programs in albuquerque and santa fe. These innovative camps are for mainstream children as well as children with disabilities, their caretakers, and/or their siblings providing an inclusive forum for learning. More than 150 youth participated in our classes during the year, each one learning important lessons in communication, empathy, patience, compassion, and selflessness. Adw placed three assistance dogs with clients needing help with challenges from ptsd, anxiety/depression, seizures, and mobility impairment. We expanded our capacity to benefit these types of clients by forming new collaborations with dog breeders, to obtain puppies well-suited to these varied tasks. Focusing on purpose-breed dogs has increased the success rate of finished dogs suitable to service dog work. Professionally trained courthouse dogs are working throughout the country inprosecutor's offices and child advocacy centers to assist crime victims and witnesses as they participate in criminal justice proceedings. Working with a legal professional (childrens' advocates, forensic investigators, or volunteers), the courthouse dog serves as a catalyst to help children relax, feel safe, and more effectively participate in the judicial process. Adw continues to collaborate with the national courthouse dogs foundation inthe placement of these highly-skilled dogs. In addition to providing on-going support and training for the six courthouse dogs previously placed in new mexico and arizona judicial settings, adw trained and placed six new dogs in southern nm and tucson, az. Trainings were provided for judical professionals in the care, handling and utilization of the dogs. Adw also has requests from several additional judicial districts for these amazing working canines. Each courthouse dog provides comfort and support to hundreds of children and adults in stressful courthouse settings every year. Adw continued to offer owner/self-training classes for clients needing help training their own dogs to assist with disabilities. Three clients obtained training classes from us during the period, and adw staff trainers worked with them to train their dogs for diabetic alert, ptsd/anxiety/depression support, and physical assistance. Student trainer program evaluations are conducted regularly with schools, agencies and families to assess student learning, recognize achievements and identify areas for improvement. Adw tracks client/dog teams continuously through a follow-up process of monthly staff review and annual surveys, calls and visits, medical reviews, trainer evaluations, public access testing/certification, and lasting client relationships. Adw also collects metrics of client satisfaction, dog service time, and client/dog team success, which are used for program improvements. This valuabledata on program success and areas for improvement is incorporated into program development on an on-going basis. The year was extremely fruitful for adw, meeting its goals, expanding services, working with existing collaborations and establishing newones, instructing new student trainers, and of course, providing the gift of life-changing assistance dogs to our clients. Students gained knowledge, assumed responsibility and developed a compassionate awareness of people with different abilities, while making concrete contributions to their community. Highly trained dogs were matched with grateful clients to assist with issues of physical mobility challenges, diabetes, ptsd, and more. Courthouse dogs, who touch the lives of many in their careers, helped children and adults cope with the extreme emotional challenges involved in the judicial process. We look forward to the future, starting new projects while maintaining ourlong-standing relationships, teaching new students to share in the joy of training service dogs for others, working to expand and improve our capacity to provide trained dogs to those who need them, and welcoming new faces to join us in our mission.

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