Helping Paws staff and volunteers provide continuing outreach services and care to graduates and the community at large. A brief list of recent events follows.

Graduate Teams Saturday. Fourteen graduates came from near and far to enjoy complimentary dog grooming, lunch, and hear Dr. Jen Quast from Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital speak on caring for service dogs as they age. A gathering is also planned for summer.

All Dog Night brought more than 60 people to hear graduates speak about what works and what may not when they receive a service dog. Graduates shared some moving stories to highlight the effect of the dogs. When asked what additional cues were needed, however, the sole response was Chad Woods’ wry comment of “Type on a computer?”

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson invited input from Helping Paws as a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling that supported the right to sue a school for refusing to allow a service dog in a kindergarten classroom. Swanson filed a brief in support of the parents’ case. Helping Paws graduates Angela Folie and Ryan Haugen met with Swanson to discuss the evolution of training practices for dogs who serve veterans with PTSD and people with physical disabilities.

An Open House for Veterans attracted eight prospective applicants to meet with current veteran graduates, their service dogs, and work with a number of Helping Paws service dogs in training. Veterans receiving a service dog will go through a training process this summer with actual placement of the service dog in August.