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We took a break from the monthly staff meeting to celebrate Wendi’s birthday and Maureen and Jo’s one year anniversary as Helping Paws staff members. The cake and homemade bread were delicious!

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As we move through our first month of celebrating our 25th Annivesary, we received some great news!   Helping Paws has been awarded a Quality of Life grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation supporting the training of service dogs for individuals with physical disabilities.

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Last Friday the Helping Paws training center was filled with puppies and smiles. The “Reindeer Litter” was ready to start their journey as service dogs-in-training and the new foster homes were more than ready to find out which puppy would go home with them. It is so fun to watch the foster homes as they receive their puppy and seem to fall instantly in love. These foster homes will give the “Reindeer Litter” their permanent names and these puppies will now join the “Class of 2014”. Thank you to all the well-wishers who attended. The Keeley puppies, Nick (now Quincy) and Nora (now Britta) were there with their new foster homes to meet their new classmates.

Thank you to those involved in getting this litter off to such a good start; Jessie for donating Lambeau’s stud services and the Martiny family and Elise for the amazing job they did raising this litter.

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Meet Aquaman, Mystique, Storm and Raven. These four super heroes, also known as the Logan X Lola litter were born on Monday, March 19. Mom and babies are doing great.

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Well, maybe not quite a Martini.  In a phone conversation with Kathy about her service dog Claire, Kathy shared that she had lost her balance which caused her to fall and she was unable to get up.  Kathy instructed Claire to “get the phone”, Claire brought Kathy a pillow.  Kathy repeated the cue, “get the phone,” Claire brought a her  a beverage coaster.  Finally, Kathy had Claire jump up on the couch and repeated, “Get the phone.”  The lightbulb went on and Claire knowingly retrieved the phone for Kathy and she was able to get the help she needed.  Both Kathy and Claire had the tools they needed to work together in order to obtain the help Kathy needed.

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Three of the Goldens in the Monday Awesome (or not so much so) Adolescents classes turned one on March 28th.  Happy Birthday to Major (foster home trainer Marie Heikkila), Carmen (foster home trainer Kristie Niemi) and Aida (foster home trainer Katy Shannon).  Thanks to Katy for the homemade biscuits!

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Helping Paws recognized the foster home trainers for 4 graduating dogs, and 5 career change dogs, last week.  The balloon table decorations represented black and chocolate Labs and Goldens.  Aida and Carmen, Awesome Adolescents, demonstrated their prowess at Sit and Look Cute.  Percy and Cricket showed off their new skill Under.  And Ripken gave us a picture

of a Big Dog.

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Team Training Class of Spring 2012

We are just winding up our Spring Team Training class on April 26. During the last three weeks, we’ve had a wonderful time working with a great group of graduates and their new service dog partners.
Graduating are:

Bev Foster and service dog partner, Nala (successor dog)
Nala’s foster home trainers were the Joan Summerside & Matthew Mesnik family
and the Kim & Ray Torell family.
Nala is out of the Rudy x Cheers litter.

Tami Oothoudt and service dog partner, Izzo (successor dog)
Izzo’s foster home trainers were Maureen Fitzgerald & family and the Elaine and
Kurt Beckstrom family.
Izzo is out of the Rudy x Cheers litter.

Jenny Peterson and service dog partner, Aster (successor dog)
Aster’s foster home trainer was Joan Kurlander.
Aster is out of the Eragon x Sheba litter.

Ed VanDeventer and service dog partner, Zuma
Zuma’s foster trainers were the Darleen & David Lindgren family.
Zuma is out of the Bang x Faith litter.

Thanks to the support of our foster home trainers, olunteers, staff, Board members and Blue Coat benefactors, we continue to meet our mission of furthering the independence of individuals with physical disabilities through the use of  service dogs.

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Two more litters celebrated 1st birthdays.  The Lola pups (Boomer, Percy, Cricket, Tate, Dexter, Sheldon, JoJo and Cowboy) turned one on April 16th, and the River pups (Winnie, Cash, Zephyr, Tango, Abraham, Boone and Turtle) turned one on May 4th.  Party hats and treats ruled the day for all!

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Lola’s four puppies, the Superhero litter, packed their capes and moved in with their new foster homes on Friday. Aquaman, Mystique, Raven and Storm (their foster homes will give them their permanent names) are now officially service dogs-in-training. A great big thank you to the Voeller family and Lola for all the care and love they have given these four puppies.