As of August 25, 2013, the mission for Alaska Assistance Dogs (AAD) was changed by the Board of Directors to read: “This corporation is organized to engage in charitable and educational activities connected to service dogs for Alaskans with special needs, and specifically to assist individuals interested in obtaining a service dog by providing advice, counsel and referral to professionally-trained service dog trainers.”
AAD’s winding-down process has begun. The Board of Directors voted to close on March 31, 2014. We are winding down, but fulfilling our obligations before doing so. One is to be sure VTAD or Veterans Training Assistance Dogs, a nonprofit where veterans train service dogs for fellow veterans, gets a good start.
AAD’s design over the years in its service dog and therapeutic programs has been to use the trust and unconditional love of dogs to heal hearts and minds. But, for service dogs there is a great deal more involved in creating a professionally trained service dog team. The founders retired from active service dog training as of December 31, 2013, but remain fully dedicated as advocates for professionally trained service dogs.
Sadly, a great deal has changed in the field of service dog training these past few years: fake service dogs, poorly trained self-trained service dogs and organizations without professional background putting improper breeds, sizes and not fully trained dogs into public service. This has changed the acceptance of service dogs in public places, making it hard for all those with properly trained service dogs.
Discussions on this website will cover proper training for basic obedience, public behavior, appropriate breed and size choices, what to look for in a professional trainer, federal and state laws, agencies in Alaska that can help with funding, housing laws regarding service dogs, and who to go to when not treated properly while in a business with a service dog or other public places.
It is a work in progress…stay with us as it develops…
- All trainers for Alaska Assistance Dogs (AAD) have been trained by Dr. Bonnie Bergin at Bergin University of Canine Studies (BUCS) in Santa Rosa, California. Dr. Bergin is the founder of the service dog concept. BUCS is a fully accredited California university.
- Candidate Member of Assistance Dogs International, Inc., the worldwide coalition of nonprofit programs that specialize in training service dogs.
- AAD had an Alaska Licensed Therapist (LPC) on staff directing therapeutic service dog training programs.
- Over it’s 13 years, AAD successfully trained, placed and followed to retirement dozens of service dogs and the dogs positively affected hundreds of children, teens and adults with mental health challenges.
- AAD specialized in therapeutic service dog training programs for children and teens.