Friday Facts 2016
In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, Dogs with Wings shared stories of our history leading up to our special gala event. Please enjoy the ‘Friday Facts’ that helped honour all of the amazing people and dogs who have crossed our path in such a remarkable way. We published these every other week to our website and various social media platforms. Our first was out January 22nd, 2016 and continued until October 14th.
1. Who were the first team trained?
Bill Owens and his guide dog Ansil in 1997.
On January 31, 1997, Elisa Irlam handed over the leash of Ansil, a rescued lab cross, to Mr. Bill Owen of Edmonton.
2. Where are DWW dogs working in Alberta?
Dogs with Wings has teams working in 26 cities and towns in Alberta:
Beaumont, Bonnyville, Bragg Creek, Brooks, Calgary, Camrose, Carvel, Didsbury, and more.
3. What programs does Dogs with Wings offer?
We provide guide, service, autism, companion, and facility dog programs.
Over time, assistance dogs have been used for everything from warning of danger to responding to seizures.
4. Why does DWW use only black and yellow Labradors?
They are the most multi-talented of assistance dog breeds.
A well-trained and socialized Labrador is a calm, steady and reliable presence in the face of any of life’s obstacles.
5. How does DWW pick all those puppy names?
We stick with the ABC’s or theme, use no people names, and keep it short.
Dogs with Wings puppy naming is a fun process that everyone can take part in.
6. What can Dogs with Wings dogs do?
DWW puppies and young adult dogs learn a standard set of commands.
Specific commands for each assistance dog program are taught in the final training months.
7. How much do Dogs with Wings volunteers give?
Every day our volunteers work an average of 331.5 hours!
From the dark early hours until others are tucked up in their beds at night, Dogs with Wings volunteers are happily dedicating their time.
8. What happens to dogs that don’t graduate?
Unqualified dogs are offered for adoption to select applicants for a fee that helps fund other programs.
Some dogs are simply meant to make their families happy by being perfectly pleasing pets.
9. Who are Dogs with Wings most notable moms?
Introducing DWW Misty, Brooklyn and Macy!
If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you know that we are awash in moms right now.
10. How many dogs has DWW placed?
We have placed over 131 dogs with Albertans with special needs.
We look back at all the dogs that have been placed in vital roles over the past 20 years.
11. When did DWW expand North and South?
Grande Prairie’s satellite puppy foster program started in 2011 with two very keen 4H club members.
Ally Botten and Abby Barton chose puppy raising for DWW as their special project.
12. Who are DWW best doggie daddies?
Walker is current and Wally most prolific, but no one beats our Fletcher!
DWW Fletcher started life in 2012 as a charming little yellow fellow from Guide Dogs for the Blind in California.
13. Can assistance dogs travel?
Yes, graduates have travelled across Canada and all over the world!
Assistance dogs trained and certified by an accredited school can go anywhere their clients can get to by road, rail, sea or air.
14. What do Dogs with Wings’ dogs eat?
We’d love to just say dog food, but unfortunately it’s more than that.
A somewhat unique feature about labs is their insatiable appetite. It makes them very easy to train using positive reinforcements.
15. What is IADW?
International Assistance Dog Week, August 7-13, 2016, celebrates working dogs worldwide and their amazing volunteers, trainers and teammates.
The event began in the United States in 2010.
16. What is Dogs with Wings’ Biggest Fundraiser?
Dogs with a Cause Gala Dinner and Auction.
If you haven’t been to a DWW gala yet – you don’t know what you’re missing! In the past 10 years, Dogs with Wings fall gala has gone through a rapid evolution.
17. Can DWW Dogs Go to School?
There are 13 DWW dogs headed back to schools across Alberta this month.
Dogs with Wings dogs work in schools in many different capacities. Some attend with individual children or adults as their personal service dogs.
18. How many DWW dogs are sponsored?
DWW Sponsorship program has benefited over 65 dogs.
The Sponsorship program officially took shape in 2006 when Cessco Fabrication & Engineering Ltd. put their name on the training vest of DWW Cessco.
19. How do we train DWW dogs?
Time, patience, and very happy accidents!
All of the amazing skills that Dogs with Wings assistance dogs excel at started as happy accidents that were immediately, and repeatedly, rewarded.
20. Does DWW really make people’s dreams take flight?
We do. And that’s a fact…
Twenty years and 140 dogs – making dreams take flight.