Grad and E Litter

Grad Dogs in Gazebo
What an incredible event took place on Sunday, May 29. Graduation 2016 honoured 16 graduating teams, 15 of whom were in attendance. Nearly 300 guests showed up to celebrate these amazing people and their new canine assistants. Over 30 dogs, graduating, graduated and in training, enjoyed an energetic free-for-all in the courtyard of Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre before all sitting quietly and attentive throughout the ceremony. Dogs RunningThe afternoon saw many tears, those of joy on hearing the stories of the graduate teams and their early successes, and those of sadness as many foster raisers said a final goodbye to the darling dogs they cared for so much.

Master of Ceremonies, John Wheelwright, welcomed everyone by offering a special tribute to our volunteers whose efforts are so truly noteworthy. He then introduced the staff of DWW satellite programs in Grande Prairie and Calgary; Rebecca Hayes Copeland, and Michelle Douglas and Kim Jeannotte, respectively. The ladies spoke about the amazing puppies that have come through their training programs and the joys of working with their incredible local volunteers.

As the graduating teams crossed the stage to receive their certificates from Director of Client Services, Elisa Irlam, and heartfelt hugs from team trainers Maria Illes and Moira Wegner, they each took a moment to express their gratitude for the gift of their assistance dog. The media was well represented at the event with television stations and daily newspapers all on hand sharing these stories.

Graduation 2016 was a spectacular event truly fitting for Dogs with Wings 20th Anniversary. It was a celebration of everyone involved: the whelping home, puppy raisers, adult raisers, our generous sponsors, training and kennel volunteers, and of course, the clients and their new assistant dogs. We offer a very special note of thanks to Paige and Ed Stahl who have generously and compassionately sponsored DWW graduations over the past several years.

Litter ‘E’ News
E LitterWelcome Litter “E”! These four beautiful yellow girls were born on May 8th at the whelping home of Charlene Johnson and family. As part of our partnership agreement in the North American Breeding Cooperative, one of the pups will be going to Bergen University in California and another to Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida. This trading of puppies helps keep everyone’s bloodlines strong and ensures the best traits are passed along to future generations.

Charlene is just one of several very dedicated volunteers who turn their homes into sequestered puppy playgrounds for 8 weeks at a time. A new volunteer video shows some of the joys and trials of being a whelping home mom.


They’re all Dog Days

D LitterOn March 17, Dogs with Wings “D” litter was born and are growing healthy and strong with their mom, DWW Luna at their whelping home with Sherry and Andy of Edmonton. They will be getting their official names on May 9th and heading to their puppy foster homes in Calgary on May 13.

May 9th is also the day that DWW Spirit II is expected to deliver the “E” litter. Charlene Johnson of Edmonton is getting all set up to whelp this bunch.

June 7th should see DWW Gemini delivering the “F” litter at the home of Sarah & Dwayne Huisman in St. Albert.

Tell your family, encourage your friends, chat up your neighbours: Dogs with Wings needs puppy raising homes!

Volunteer application can be found by clicking here.

Safety for All is the Training
Safety CartoonThe internet is a marvelous thing. It is the most diverse outlet for the human imagination in recorded history making it the largest wealth of information, and disinformation, ever known.

Take for example, various websites offering “Instant Service Dog Registration valid in the US and Canada” and even going so far as stating that “Emotional support dogs do not have to be trained to perform any specific task. Service dogs can be trained by their owners or in any other manner the owner desires.”

Unfortunately, Dogs with Wings receives phone calls every day from people who have looked at these sites and are horribly disappointed when they find out that their recently and expensively purchased pet can’t actually be trained or identified as a service dog. Worse is when they and their pet arrive at a public location with their just-arrived-by-mail vest, identification and certificate only to be turned away and subject to a hefty fine.

The reality is that in Alberta to be a qualified service dog under the Service Dogs Act, the dog must be trained through an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) accredited school. There are eight such schools across Canada and several in the US that do serve Canadian clients. These schools will provide properly identified equipment and certificates. DWW is the only ADI accredited school located in the Prairie Provinces.

Dogs with Wings has been actively working to educate people about assistance dogs for the past 20 years. We worked with the government of Alberta to draft the Service Dog Act based on international standards that ensure both the rights of the service dog user and the safety of the public is maintained.

We count on our volunteers, clients and friends to help DWW continue to educate the public about the law in Alberta and the vital role trained assistance dogs have in the lives of those who depend on them. To learn more about the Service Dog Act you can read the entire document by clicking here, or click here to view a CTV News Video!

Thanks Volunteers!

National Volunteer Week 2016It is 2016 National Volunteer Week April 11-15, so thank you to the amazing people who have made us part of their families over the past 20 years.

Two such volunteers are Kathy and Peter Kawalilak. Peter is semi-retired, a former police officer now working for the 911 call centre. Kathy is a teacher about to retire her full time position and go on the substitute list.

Volunteers Kathy and PeterThey live in Sherwood Park in a house they share with one adult son, their 12 year old ‘keeper dog’ and every year for the past nine, a Dogs with Wings foster puppy. Read more.

A Reason to Celebrate
According to Statistics Canada 2010 survey, 55% of Albertans volunteer and each volunteer contributes an average of 140 hours per year. Dogs with Wings volunteers are 3 times more dedicated, and that doesn’t even count what else they do in their communities!

In 2015, Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society received over 121,000 hours of service from 297 volunteers and their families.

Puppy GradThat is:
13.8 years
the equivalent of 62 full time positions
valued at $1.8 million at $15 per hour
an average of 54 day’s work per person

Absolutely Incredible!

It Takes a Village
School KidsThere are so many ways volunteers help out at Dogs with Wings. Every day, year round, hundreds of people are working at raising dogs and money to ensure assistance dogs are being placed with clients whose quality of life depends on them and their training.

Our in-home foster programs are by far the largest volunteer programs. Adult dog foster homes, puppy foster homes, whelping homes and boarding homes require tens of thousands of dedicated hours each year. Our puppy and boarding programs operate in Grande Prairie, Edmonton and Calgary. The adult foster program and our whelping homes center on our training facility in Edmonton.

We also have many volunteers who work hands-on with the dogs at our training facility or out in public. Training Assistants help reinforce the skills dogs need for their assistance roles. Training assistants can be individuals or families who take the dogs to shopping malls, grocery stores, festivals or bus rides. They may also be classrooms of children or family groups who help train dogs that will be working with children. Dogs with Wings also has kennel assistants who come in every day to make sure that all the adult dogs are taken outside to be relieved and to run around in our off leash area for exercise.

Some of our very important volunteer roles don’t involve our dogs directly. Every year it takes a very dedicated committee of people to plan and carry out our events. Graduation, and especially our Gala, take many hours of planning and lots of hands on deck to be successful. There are several other events and activities taking place all year when people are always happy to step up and lend a hand. Groups from companies might help by doing a “deep clean” of our training facility, individuals lend their muscle to haul donated furniture, and DWW ambassadors visit schools and other community groups to talk about assistance dogs and our organization.

Dogs with Wings is very lucky to count people all over the province as volunteers who help raise money to support the work we do. These volunteers may be students who take up a collection at school, individuals who ask for donations instead of birthday presents or people or groups who plan a fundraising event in their community.

There is one core group of volunteers whose leadership guides the organization to grow and succeed. Dogs with Wings Board of Directors are special individuals who have taken up the responsibility to ensure DWW remains a viable, productive and ethical operation fulfilling a valid need in society.

‘Time, treasure or talent’ is a phase used to describe the types of support given to charities. At Dogs with Wings, there is no distinguishing between our volunteers, all give time, treasure and talent.

Leverage your Passion
Happy StaffEmployers across Alberta have come up with several ways to keep their staff happy, active and involved in their communities. One of these is to support causes that their employees hold dear. These programs might be matching gifts for the donations their employees make, grants to charities where their employees volunteer, or even gifts to recognize volunteer contributions of retired employees.

Dogs with Wings receives many financial gifts from businesses every year that are “volunteer driven”. Donors become volunteers by asking their employers to match their financial gifts. Volunteers can become fundraisers by asking for grants to DWW based on a minimum number of hours they have volunteered or on length of service to DWW.

The only way DWW can receive this support is if donors and volunteers ask their employers. We truly appreciate our volunteers who have asked their employers about their matching gift or employee volunteer grant program. They have gone the extra mile and leveraged their passion for Dogs with Wings.

New Horizons
Wynne at SchoolEmployment and Social Development Canada has provided Dogs with Wings a grant of $23,000 through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Starting in April, DWW will be developing and running programs focused on recruiting, training and mentoring volunteers.

Although the definition of “senior” is age 55 and up, the grant allows for a much broader range. The program will include promoting volunteerism among seniors and other generations, engaging seniors through the mentoring of other generations, and supporting the social participation and inclusion of seniors.

Dogs with Wings will call on our current “senior” volunteers for ideas and help to make the most of this opportunity to build and grow our volunteer program foundation and numbers. Watch for more information about the New Horizons project coming soon.

DWW Update

Bill, Elisa, AnsilFriday Facts
If you haven’t heard, in celebration of our 20th Anniversary, Dogs with Wings will be sharing stories of our history over the next several months leading up to our special gala event. Please enjoy our ‘Friday Facts’ and join us as we honour all of the amazing people and dogs who have crossed our path in such a remarkable way. We will be publishing these every other week to our website and various social media platforms. Our first was out January 22nd and we will continue until October 14th.

1. Who were the first team trained?
On January 31, 1997, Elisa Irlam handed over the leash of Ansil, a rescued lab cross, to Mr. Bill Owen of Edmonton. Ansil was the very first guide dog trained by the Western Guide Dog Foundation, as we were then called. Bill and Ansil worked together for eight years. They both left a profound impression on the organization and helped DWW become what it is today.

2. Where are DWW dogs working in Alberta?
Dogs with Wings has teams working in Beaumont, Bonnyville, Bragg Creek, Brooks, Calgary, Camrose, Carvel, Didsbury, Drayton Valley, Eckville, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Granum, Jasper, Leduc, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, Olds, Red Deer, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Sturgeon County, Sundre, Vegreville, and Whitecourt..

A Day of B’s and C’s
B PuppiesJanuary 28th was a very special day at Dogs with Wings. Breeze, Burke and Briggs, with mom DWW Madison, arrived from Can Do Canines in Minnesota courtesy of drivers Selikke and Brian. The three puppies spent a day of rest in Edmonton then made their way to their foster homes in Calgary with veteran raiser Todd and new puppy raisers Kathy, Chrissy, and David.

Then the day got even better. First time mom Cypress delivered six healthy puppies at the whelping home of Bonnie and Nick. The four males and two females, black with tiny white accents on chest or toes, are all healthy and doing fine. C LitterCypress has plenty of milk and is a natural mom, caring for the babies like she’s done it all before. Cypress is just over 2 ½ years old. She originally came with her litter mate Seymour from PADS in Vancouver as part of DWW partnership in the North American Breeding Cooperative. The puppies’ father, Dart, is a ¾ Labrador ¼ Burmese cross from National Service Dogs in Cambridge, Ontario. NSD Dart was specifically selected for his calm and confident demeanor and for his larger size. The insemination was surgical so neither dog needed to travel.

Socially Speaking
Dogs with Wings amazing friends and family have been sharing their photos and stories on our Facebook group page since 2011. Today the group has 1208 members with more joining every day. It is an amazing place to watch our puppies’ progress through training and to see the benefits they bring to families and individuals for years to come. To share these captured moments with our supporters who do not have their own Facebook accounts, DWW has recently set up a public page that anyone on the internet can view. We will continue to build and develop this page throughout the year so make sure you check back frequently to see what’s new.

Visit the page at Stay totally up to date by following us on Twitter @dogswithwings, and Instagram.

K9 Conditioning with Bobbie Lyons
K9 ConditioningOn Jan 9th and 10th, Dogs with Wings hosted the first Edmonton K9 Conditioning Workshop featuring celebrated trainer Bobbie Lyons. Bobbie, CCFT, MTI, Cert CF, is a FitPAWS Master Trainer course instructor with over 10 years’ experience. The workshop attracted 40 amateur and professional trainers, veterinarians and vet techs, rescue organization staff as well as trainers of Canadian champion agility dogs. The dogs were all ages from puppies to seniors and all sizes from Pomeranian to German Shepherd. The workshop was fully booked, the lunches were excellent, and money was raised to purchase new training equipment for Dogs with Wings.

DWW Kicks Off 20th Anniversary
EdmontonDogs with Wings hit the ground running in 2016 to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. On January 23th, a kick-off event was held at Pet Planet in Calgary. Dogs, volunteers, and a beautiful cake welcomed customers and members of the public to learn more about DWW. January 31st saw the kick-off in Edmonton at Homes Alive Pets. It was ‘old home week’ as raisers got to say hello to dogs they fostered in the past and new foster parents got to meet clients whose lives have changed completely since getting their assistance dogs. Volunteers and shoppers got to enjoy popcorn and cake and everyone learned a little more about Dogs with Wings.

Ways to Help Us
20 Parties for our 20 years! We are challenging you to become a Dogs with Wings ambassador! Our 20th Anniversary is a great reason to take DWW out on the road. Talk to people, educate them about what service dogs do and what to do when they meet one. Start thinking now of ways to fundraise in your community or even just within your circle of family and friends. Invite people to consider volunteering as foster parents or helping out in other ways. We are looking for 20 new community led events to take place in 2016. Some of last year’s activities included two young girls, asking for donations to Dogs with Wings instead of presents for their birthdays. Also volunteer Rob who raised $400 by auctioning a ‘Jug and a Hug at his curling club Christmas party. Be the smiling face of Dogs with Wings where you live!

A Great Year

Prison Program

B Litter Become X’s – Ex-cons!
Madison and her puppies spent the holidays in prison as part of a Can Do Canines training program operating at four prisons across Minnesota. DWW Madison delivered and whelped her latest litter of seven puppies in Minnesota under the care of Can Do Canines of St. Paul. Can Do Canines has been working with the prisons for years. They felt it was a better place to have the new puppies over the Christmas holidays than putting them in temporary foster homes at such a busy time. A Can Do staff member visited the prison offering assistance and basic house training and leash work was continued.

The camp is pretty much like its own little town. They have a grocery store, movie theater etc. It is the final step for inmates before being released and on their own. After they are sprung from the jail, Madi and the puppies will go back to the whelping home. The pups and Madi will all stay together until the pups are fully weaned when the pups will go into separate rooms in pairs of 2 at first. After the Christmas break, the DWW puppies will move to their local boarding homes and Can Do puppies into their foster homes. DWW has made travel arrangements for our puppies to arrive in Edmonton around January 28th.

Link for news story: Making a Difference in Duluth

Christmas Eve Brought News of the C Litter
CypressGreat news came on Christmas Eve when DWW Cypress went in for an ultrasound and verified that the C Litter was on its way. Mom and the pups appear to be in good health. The litter is expected around January 27th. Luna is being whelped in the home of long-term foster/assistant trainer/whelping mom Bonnie Taylor.

DWW Out and About
Corn MazeIn August, DWW training staff initiated a program to make weekly visits to new and unique venues. Over the past several months, our dogs in training have visited such fun places and events as Fort Edmonton Park, Festival of Trees, Butterdome Craft Sale, Red Willow Water Park, and the Edmonton Street Performers Festival. Every week between five to eight dogs with their trainers experienced crowds, meeting farm animals, using the transit system, working in the dark, and trying to focus among groups of noisy playing children. As the dogs were developing skills that will carry them throughout their careers as assistant animals, the trainers learned invaluable handling skills. The most fun for all was watching even the older and more experienced dogs facing a completely new experience with surprise, joy, and total aplomb.

Last Call for the Christmas Photo Contest
Are you mesmerized by your puppy’s warm smile and gentle eyes? Or does an elfin grin and sparkles sound more like your DWW dog? You are the best person to capture his or her unique personality, so don’t forget our Christmas Photo Contest. The deadline to submit your photos is midnight January 15, 2016. Capture special moments at home or back yard, or show off those regal poses when out and about on the town. You can enter two pictures for each category. Winning photos will be used on our 20th Anniversary DWW Christmas Cards. Photos must be high resolution, best quality .jpg or RAW, and submitted as taken without cropping, photo shopping or alterations. Email entries to Elisa. Please indicate the category and include the dog’s name and location of the photo.

2015 Remembered
We don’t want to steal any thunder from the Annual Report or our upcoming Graduation, but here is a brief look at the past year:
• DWW said sad goodbyes to Allison Darknell, Lise Benoit, Shannon Northcott, Catherine Harbord and Sandra Mackniak
• We joyously welcomed Caitlin Mungham, Michelle Douglas, Dawn MacDonald, Cathy Cross, Shannon Wallace and Brenda Perrault
• We celebrated the birth of 19 puppies: Zed, Zeus II, Zena, Zara, Zeke, Zaya, Zoe, and Ziggy; Aria, Apollo, Autumn and Axel; Chili and Pepper; Robson and Fernie; and Breeze, Briggs and Burke
• The Calgary puppy program grew by leaps and bounds and is now under the direction of its own part-time coordinator
• The Grande Prairie program expanded services to be able to complete adult dog training and has trained and placed 2 autism service dogs
• DWW school in Edmonton brought in more trainers’ assistants to help with public outings, body conditioning and specialized training
• The Peeps Program wound down leaving only adult dogs being dropped off for daily training at the Edmonton location
• Client services got a timely review and update to streamline its application and interview processes

Ways to Help Us
Foster homes, foster homes, foster homes! Today we have 41 puppies and adult dogs in training being fostered across the province. By the end of January we may be adding as many as 10 with many more in the months to come. If you have considered fostering or know someone who could provide a loving home, please contact Kerri at 1-877-252-9433 or via email. Information sessions for all DWW volunteer programs take place on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 5:30 at the DWW training centre, 11343 174 St. NW Edmonton.

Christmas 2015

Christmas Photo Contest
Fernie and RobsonNow that we actually have snow across the province, don’t forget our Christmas Photo Contest. We are planning ahead to print Christmas cards featuring your photos for our 20th Anniversary Christmas season in 2016! There will be two categories: ‘At Home’ photos both inside and out, and outdoor photos. Outdoor photos may include photo ops on outings, in shopping malls, stores or at Christmas events. The six top photos, three from each category, will be used on DWW Christmas Cards which will be available for purchase in fall of 2016. Winning photographers will be acknowledged in the newsletter and will receive two free sets of Christmas cards.

Entries must be submitted by January 15, 2016. Photos must be high resolution, best quality JPG or RAW, and submitted as taken without cropping or alterations via photography software, etc. Email entries to Elisa. Please indicate the category and include the dog’s name and location of the photo. Please limit entries to two photos per category.

Celebrating Our Volunteers
Calgary Pot LuckNovember turned out to be DWW Volunteer Appreciation Month with pot luck dinners held in both Edmonton and Calgary. Over 80 volunteers and staff gathered for the two events along with dozens of DWW puppies in training and working dogs. It was a wonderful time of sharing stories and celebrating all the amazing effort that goes into preparing a dog for placement.

New Puppies have Big Names and Big Expectations
Dogs with Wings has just welcomed two puppies born from a litter of service dogs in BC. Named DWW Fernie and DWW Robson (shown above), these pups have mountainous expectations to live up to. We know they will stand out in their new foster homes in the flatlands of Grande Prairie.

November Update

Maddison and B Litter
B Litter Born October 24 in Minnesota
DWW Maddison delivered seven healthy puppies, three girls and four boys, on October 24 under the care of Can Do Canines in St. Paul, Minnesota. As part of the Assistance Dogs International Breeding Cooperative, Dogs with Wings will be bringing Maddison and two or three of the puppies back to Alberta in January. This is Maddison’s third litter and the second one whelped in Minnesota.

DWW will also be welcoming two puppies from a BC association litter through the breeding program. One male and one female, both yellow, will arrive late November.

All our puppies need sponsorships to support them through training. Please consider making a commitment to one special puppy that will help change lives forever. For information on our Sponsorship Programs, please contact our fund development manager via our contact page.

2015 Gala (Barrrk! A Pirate’s Tail) a Success
2015 GalaCONGRATULATIONS on another fabulous Gala, from the minute I walked in, I was blown away. The decorations were terrific, I loved the table centerpieces, it was nice to see so many people dressed up – the theme was perfect! I am very blessed to work with such an amazing organization – the staff, volunteers and of course the service dogs who continue to change lives. I hope all your supporters join you for your 20th Anniversary next year. Thanks to everyone at Dogs with Wings for all you do.”

Seanna Collins
Host, Global Edmonton

[message_box title=”Thank You” color=”green”]A very special thank you to our 2015 Gala Fleet of Sponsors: Stahl Peterbilt, United Construction Company Inc., Marsh Johnston, Toby Ramsden, Summit Valve and Controls Inc., PCL Construction and Foster Park Brokers Inc.[/message_box]

Can you spare some AIR MILES®?
DWW has assistance dogs placed across Alberta. Our trainers visit clients wherever they live. This month Maria and Moira will be traveling to Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, and Fort McMurray. Your donated AIR MILES® can help get them there.

To donate, simply call AIR MILES® at 1-888-AIR-MILES (247-6453) with your info handy and specify how many miles you would like to transfer to Maria Illes, account 8007 144 3647.

New Recruits

Team Graduation
Before the training staff left for industry conferences in Seattle and Oakville, we graduated 4 teams. Autism instructor, Moira Wegner placed DWW Seymour, DWW Urban, and DWW Uri all with young children. Maria Illes placed DWW Garnet with a local Chartered Psychologist and Garnet will be assisting in the counselling process. All wonderful placements; all wonderful dogs – congratulations to all our newest teams!

Two New Recruits
PepperDWW Chili (above) and DWW Pepper (left) are on their way to Dogs with Wings courtesy of volunteer Brian Kelley, who is delivering DWW Madison to a US school to whelp her next litter there and returning to Edmonton with Chili and Pepper. Chili is a yellow female and Pepper is a black male.

Stay tuned!

Ways to Help Us
We’re having all the fun here at Dogs with Wings in Edmonton. We’ve planned Fundraising Fun Days, the gala, a home party shopping spree and there’s lots more to come. You can join in and plan an event to help raise money for our training programs. Why not host an at home dinner party or wine tasting evening? Get the kids involved and find a craft you can make and market for Christmas. For more ideas or help planning your event, call or email our fund development manager via our contact page.

Fall is Near

DWW Spirit
DWW Fun Days
Dogs with Wings Fundraising Fun Days was a huge success over the last weekend in August. Hundreds of families came out to enjoy the petting zoo, play on bouncy castle and get crafty at the kids activity table. The garage sale was HUGE with dozens of people bringing in their surplus extras to become someone else’s treasure. Over $3100 was raised and DWW got lots of media attention for the event. If you want to plan a local garage sale or other event to raise funds for Dogs with Wings, please contact our Fund Development Manager, via our contact page, for ideas and resources.

The “A” Litter Has Landed
A Litter FiremanWe organize our litters by the letters of the alphabet and we are pleased to announce that on the eve of our 20th anniversary, we have been all the way through to ‘Z’ and have started again at ‘A’. DWW Autumn, Aria, Apollo and Axel have all left their whelping home and are being raised by volunteers in the Calgary area. Look forward to further updates on our latest pilot guides in upcoming newsletters.

Ways to Help Us
Adult foster homes are urgently needed throughout the greater Edmonton area. If you are looking to open your heart and home to an amazing dog that will change someone’s life forever, give us a call. Adult dogs are dropped off every day to work with our certified trainers, but they need someone to love and care for them evenings and weekends. We are also seeking short-term relief boarding homes for holidays and transfers. More information is available by calling our Volunteer Coordinator at 780.944.8011 or by emailing. Contact info is available on our contact page.

To get complete and up to date news, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

August News

Trainers at Fort Edmonton ParkOur “A” litter is almost ready to leave their whelping home, where they have been cared for since birth. Born on June 17th these bundles have been learning to explore their surroundings and now that their eyes are open, they have become full time tykes – escaping home base to see what’s out there. Three of them have been fully sponsored: DWW Axel was the name chosen by ATB Financial; DWW Aria is sponsored by Crestwood Veterinary Clinic and DWW Apollo is in honour of long-term volunteers and whelping home family Andy and Sherry Banack. That leaves one final pup from this litter looking for a sponsor. Details available by contacting John at the office.

Breeding Program Luna and A LitterSummer means we are busy boarding our pups while their foster parents are away on holidays or visiting family away from home. This and the pups now moving into Adult training, it seems DWW has dogs bouncing all over the place! We send out a very special thanks to all of our foster and short-term boarding homes for keeping us informed of your schedules and for stepping up to take care of all of our dogs in training.

Everyone’s in training at Dogs with Wings. A new program was introduced this summer to help widen the skills of our volunteer assistant trainers. Every Wednesday, the training team selects a new, challenging destination and heads out as a group with dogs, volunteers and a certified trainer. The assistants learn how to handle dogs in different situations while getting tips and support in the basic techniques that they use throughout the week.

Dogs in Training at Taste of EdmontonIn the past, volunteers were trained in specific situations and would take dogs out to a few set destinations to practice skills like climbing stairs, using automatic doors and down/stay in public. Now more dogs are being exposed sooner to new environments – meeting animals at Fort Edmonton Park, maneuvering through the crowds at Taste of Edmonton, and chilling on a downtown patio watching the lunch crowds hurry past. This allows the trainers to focus more of their time teaching dogs the specific skill sets for the different programs offered at DWW.

Dogs with Wings plans on doubling the number of assistance dogs placed each year by 2020. We are constantly looking for better ways to ensure our dogs have all the training they need to change someone’s life for the better.