Sue and Nancy are currently evaluating six dogs from the Big Dog class.  Benny, Boston, Izzo, Nala, Sawyer and Rugby will be put through their paces over the next three weeks.  Evaluations are performed for several reasons.  Skills are reviewed to see where each dog is in their training, what they excel at and what skills need more work.  It also gives the HP staff an opportunity to get to know the dogs and their personalities a little better.  This information is really useful in trying to match a dog with a potential partner.  And the third reason is to give the foster homes feedback.  Sawyer and Rugby were kind enough to show off some of their skills for me today.

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Graduate team Jim and Piton recently visited three classrooms at Cedar Ridge Elementary school, educating the students about Helping Paws and service dogs in general.  A big thank you to Jim and Piton for their participation in the Helping Paws education and community outreach program.

Callahan is a four month old Labrador Retriever.  She was generously donated to the Helping Paws breeding program by Dr. Fran Smith, Danikk Labradors.  Callahan, or Callie as she is called, has settled into her new caretaker home and according to the Michurski family she is smart, cute, affectionate and really, really good.  She is having a great time playing with the other Michurski dogs, Tori, Tiga and Keeley.  When Callie is two years old she will have her heart, hips, elbows and eyes checked and if everything looks good she will become a Helping Paws breeding dog.  Helping Paws is very excited about their newest addition.

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We are pleased to announce the addition of Maureen Kleckner and Jo Sorensen to the Helping Paws staff.

Maureen is joining us as a Service Dog Trainer and Instructor. In this position, Maureen will perform dog evaluations, work one on one with foster home trainers, assist during pre-matching and team training, instruct classes, assist with graduate follow up as needed and other duties.

Jo’s position is Programs Department Administrative Coordinator. Jo will be working in the Programs office helping us to make sure everything is running smoothly. Her duties will include processing applications for service dogs, developing administrative systems and managing many other activities in the Programs Department.

We are excited to have Maureen and Jo join our staff!

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The 2011 Wag Walk and Run will be held on Saturday, May 21 in Eden Prairie at the Purgatory Creek Recreation Area.  Bring your best friends, both canine and human and join us for this great event.  Check out the pictures from last years event and for more information go to the event page on the Helping Paws website.  Online registration is now open.  The first 200 to register will get a free Helping Paws water bottle.  You won’t want to miss this really fun day.

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Helping Paws had a booth this weekend at the Hands on Twin Cities volunteer fair at the Mall of America.  According to Brenda Hawley, Helping Paws Volunteer Coordinator, a lot of people stopped by to see our dogs, learn about Helping Paws and to get more information about becoming a Volunteer Foster Home Trainer.  We also gave a demo on the main stage to a large crowd of people watching from all three floors.  Check out the photos below.

Thanks to all of the foster homes, graduates and volunteers who helped man the booth and demo.  If you missed this event but would like to learn more about our Foster Home program we are holding a Foster Home Open House on Saturday, March 5 from 9 am to 11 am at the Helping Paws training center.  This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about this amazing experience and how you can become a part of it.

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The Big Dog class had a field trip at Ridgedale last week.

Here is a picture of three of the black Labs; Theo, Kaia and Libby.  Looks like Helping Paws Labs come in Large, medium and small.

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Four of the Maverick X Faith puppies were kind enough to take a break from class last week and pose for a picture.

These eleven month old service dogs-in-training are in the Awesome Adolescents class that meets on Wednesday nights.  From left to right are Liza with Rob, Dande with Melissa, Cassie with Kirk and Hope (potential HP breeding dog) with Lori.

Not only are these four sisters beautiful, but their training is going beautifully too!

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Helping Paws hosted a Foster Home Open House this past Saturday.  This was an opportunity for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer foster home trainer to find out more about the program by visiting with staff and current foster homes.  It was also a chance to see some of our dogs in action and learn how they are trained and what skills they learn.  Thank you to all of the volunteers who came Saturday morning to help with this event.

We are expecting lots of puppies this spring and are actively looking for foster homes so if you missed the open house but are interested in learning more about becoming a foster home, please contact Nancy Hiebert at nhiebert@helpingpaws.org. We would love to talk to you!

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Next time you are in the Helping Paws offices take a look under the desks.  You will almost always find one or more of the office regulars working hard.

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