TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – If you love dogs and want to do a huge part in changing the world for someone, there is a great Toledo Area Volunteer opportunity for you. The Ability Center’s Assistance Dog Program has helped transform thousands of lives over the years. The association is looking for volunteers for this important work. This work involves training puppies in basic obedience and manners as so-called puppy breeders.
“It’s a wonderful experience to see how you take a puppy and teach him to do amazing things,” says Karen Bade, who has volunteered for more than twenty years and trained more than a dozen dogs. “The support of the employees through the training is unbelievable. You can then watch them change their lives after graduation. “
Getting the dogs to the next chapter isn’t easy, but Karen says seeing the reward for your work helping someone make up for this.
“I just dropped one off this morning and it’s always tough,” she says. “But if you graduate and meet the person who is helping you, it will be worth it in the long run.”
Karen has trained both service dogs and school therapy dogs. She is a teacher and was able to see firsthand the incredible power of dogs at work.
“You will have a student who is scared or angry and doesn’t want to talk to anyone,” says Karen. “The dog is coming in and that’s a whole different story.”
Stories like this are impossible without volunteers like Karen. Both carers and puppies are needed. The puppy breeders have the dogs for about 10 weeks. The carers can have it for up to two years. There are opportunities for people in all phases of life.
“Retired people, people with young children, people looking for opportunities to help others in the community,” said Mallory Crooks, public relations manager at The Ability Center. “There is no cookie cutter format for our volunteers because we are flexible in our approach.”
Finding new volunteers is an ongoing process as there are around 50 dogs in training at any given time.
“We have our own breeding program and are also involved in a breeding cooperation,” says Crooks. “So that the puppies never stop coming, we always have the need.” Meeting those needs is perhaps one of the best things you will ever do.
Call (419) 885-5733 or click the link above to learn more about how to join the program.
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