A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and companion dogs is coming to Red Deer.
Dogs With Wings, which has its main office located in Edmonton and two other satellite programs in Calgary and Grande Prairie, has announced it will launch a third satellite program in Red Deer this spring.
Veronica Fraser, Dogs With Wings instructor and senior training manager, said she’s excited for the program to be part of the community.
“Ideally we’d like to see about 10 puppies here in Red Deer so we can help our program grow and place our dogs,” said Fraser.
“The first thing the puppies learn is just your basic obedience: sit, down, stay and come. Then they learn up to 250 different commands, behaviours and cues, like being in public, settling, being quiet picking objects up, touching things, as well as just being well-mannered dogs around the home.”
Dogs With Wings currently has five working dogs in the community, said Fraser.
The program will see puppies go to foster homes from eight weeks of age to 14-16 months. These foster families will do the training with Dogs With Wings.
The facility dog at the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, Quinn, is a recent graduate of the Dogs With Wings program.
Mark Jones, CACAC CEO, said dogs like Quinn do a lot for the children and youths who use the centre.
“It doesn’t matter whether someone is three years old, 17 years old or anywhere in between, they just love to be associated with the dogs,” said Jones.
“They provide such a huge amount of comfort and relaxation for them. They help them in a very stressful situation with their gentle and easy manner. They’re highly trained and know exactly what they’re supposed to do for the children. In many ways they absorb part of their trauma and help them through a very difficult time.”
Dogs With Wings is looking for five volunteer puppy raisers and three volunteer boarding homes to welcome puppies into their home this spring.
Anyone interested in being a puppy raiser is asked to fill out an application form: www.dogswithwings.ca/volunteer-application.