We get asked a lot of questions each day at PAWS. One of the most frequent is why we breed our own dogs, or -- posed a different way -- why we don't use more dogs from shelters in our training program?
While it's true that there are many potentially wonderful pet dogs to be found in shelters, at PAWS our experience is that potentially successful Assistance Dogs are found much fewer and farther between. It takes a dog with a very particular range of physical and temperament traits to make it through our training regimen to placement with a client. Over time, we have learned that breeding our own dogs is the most efficient way for us to use our limited resources and also ensure we have a consistent supply of dogs with the right characteristics required to meet our clients' needs.
We do maintain relationships with area shelters (and other Assistance Dog organizations, too), however, and use their dogs for our program when we can. We're always especially proud when one completes training and is paired with a client to help and love.
PAWS Dog PEPPER is one such pup. Earlier this year, staff at the shelter he was given to knew they had an extra special dog on their hands and called us to see if we thought he'd be a good fit for our program. We did, and brought him back to PAWS for training. He learned to retrieve objects, activate push plates, brace for his person after a fall, and other tasks his person will need him to perform. Recently, PEPPER graduated as a Service Dog and our staff all gathered to send him off the day he went home with his new partner.
We wish them many happy working years together!