Monticello Animal Hospital would like to introduce their readers to an organization in Kansas that has helped enrich so many people’s lives: Kansas Specialty Dog Service. KSDS was incorporated as a non-profit organization in January 1990 with the desire to fill the gap in assistance dog placements in the Midwest. KSDS was the first organization in the nation to train both Guide Dogs and Service Dogs at the same facility. To date, KSDS has placed over 450 teams in over 33 states throughout the United States. While the cost of training a KSDS Assistance Dog is estimated at over $20,000, KSDS places each dog FREE OF CHARGE. KSDS is able to place these highly trained dogs for free thanks to donations from individuals, corporations, organizations, and foundations. KSDS is proud to be an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International; a coalition of assistance dog organizations which lead the industry in setting the standards of ethics for and placing Assistance Dogs.
KSDS has several programs:
First is their Social Dogs. These dogs are specially trained to work with a professional in the field of education, counseling, medicine, rehabilitation, retirement and specialty agencies. Some of the skills Social Dogs are trained to do include retrieving dropped or selected items, carrying objects, tugging doors and clothing, and manipulating light switches and buttons. When these dogs work in a school setting, they can model appropriate behavior, teach positive interaction, interrupt hyperactivity and perform many other tasks.
Second is their Guide Dogs. These dogs are specially trained to provide mobility assistance for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to travel safely from one place to another. They do this by navigating sidewalks, alerting to stairs, crossing streets safely and avoiding obstacles including hanging ones. Guide Dogs know ‘left’ and ‘right’ and are very helpful with object identification when asked to find a door, counter, elevator, sidewalk, chair, etc.
Third is their Service Dogs. These dogs are specially trained to provide assistance to people with physical disabilities, from individuals who use wheelchairs for mobility to those requiring a steady four-legged partner to balance them as they walk. Some of the skills KSDS Service Dogs are trained to do include retrieving dropped or selected items, assisting in dressing and undressing, pulling wheelchairs, bracing for balance or transfers, turning lights on and opening and closing a variety of doors.
All dogs placed are in top condition, having passed numerous physical exams. KSDS only trains specially selected black and yellow Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers that have been carefully bred for optimum health and temperament. The goal for a KSDS dog is to be able to assist a person for eight to ten years!
How to Apply:
To receive a KSDS Dog, a person must go through a multi-phase application process. The initial application requests basic information, as well as medical and professional references. Video, phone, and personal interviews are utilized to determine an applicant’s qualifications.
Contact information for KSDS:
124 West 7th Street
Washington, KS 66968
Phone (785) 325-2256 or Fax (785) 325-2258
Please fill free to contact them with possible donations or if you are interested in more information, please visit their website. Thank you to all the volunteers who make this program possible, you are the people I want to be like when I grow up!
Sincerely, Dr. Wallis