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.

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This spring there are seven dogs graduating from the service dog-in-training program. Six (see photos below) are going through Team Training with their new partners and will become Service Dogs and one (Kaia) will be placed as a Skilled Companion in May. Yesterday was the first day of Team Training. This is the three week course where the newly matched teams learn to work together. The individuals receiving dogs have to learn not only how to care for their dogs, but also all of the cues and skills the dogs have learned over the last two to three years. The first day is always exciting and both the recipients and the dogs are always eager to see each other again.

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Come join us tonight, Friday, April 29, at the Hopkins High School Auditorium, as we celebrate the completion of the Spring 2011 Team Training. Six new individuals and their service dogs have spent the last three weeks learning to work together, both at the Helping Paws training center and on field trips all over town. It has been fun to watch the bonds form between these individuals and their service dogs and we wish them all the best in their new lives together.

Congratulations to Leslie and Comet, Bev and Oscar, Brendan and Rio, Lucinda and Libby, Neil and Bud and Chad and Jazz.

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Please join us in celebrating the completion of the three-week Team Training course by six individuals and their service dogs.

Program followed by refreshments.

Date:  Friday, September 30, 2011       Time:  7:00 p.m

Location:  Hopkins High School Auditorium, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka

Graduates:

Lynne Dorr and Lulu–Foster home:  Joe Gadbois and Liz Roepke

Amy Hermanek and Dempsey–Foster Home: Paul Yamashita and Doreen Bell

Eileen Langeslag and Sawyer–Foster Home: The Drummond Family

Caroline Ostrom and Oliver–Foster Home: Dan Velasquez

Sam and Tracy Tabaka and Rocket–Foster Home: Carol and Tom Lamoureux

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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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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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Helping Paws begins International Assistance Dog Week, August  5 – 11, with one of our favorite activities…the placement of three service dogs!  On Monday, August 6, three service dogs  “moved in” with their new partners.

The teams are Angie and service dog Dande (fostered by Melissa and Brian Lagermeier), Peggy and service dog Splash (fostered by Jody and Eric Halvorson and family) and Sol and service dog Eli (fostered by Ranae & Chuck Noble and family).

Each of these service dogs is a successor dog for their new partners. Congratulations to all! [slideshow]

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Sol, Peggy and Angie all reported that their first nights w/their new service dogs Eli, Splash and Dande went smoothly.  Eli met Sol’s brother and a couple of the neighbors.  Sol’s brother refrained from petting Eli.  Splash fit right into Peggy and Phil’s pack of a rescue Golden and White German Shepherd…all five of them took a nap in the bedroom when Splash came home.  Dande went to a salon while Angie had her hair cut, then went home to meet Angie’s mother and brother.

Today’s team training focused on new skills like Go Get Help and Get the Blanket.  Watch the blog tomorrow for pics from a field trip! [slideshow]

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Team Training continued w/an outing to Ridgehaven Mall today.  Distractions were in abundance, and our teams did well focusing, then refocusing, then focusing yet again.  Kudos to Sol, Peggy and Angie for sticking w/this hard work!  Eli, Splash and Dande are gettin’ into the groove. [slideshow]