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 We 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.
Our “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.
Summer 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.
In 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.
Around the Training Centre DWW is growing! New to the team this month is Cathy Cross, who has joined our organization as Fund Development Manager. Cathy brings 15 years’ experience to Dogs with Wings having been with The Lung Association, Telus World of Science, Bissell Centre, and the Canadian Cancer Society where she helped each organization to meet its financial goals. One of the many obligations we have to our clients is to remain financially healthy and a professional of Cathy’s caliber will help us meet that challenge. Next time you are in the office, drop by and say hello.
We’re also pleased to announce that Dawn MacDonald has joined DWW as a member of our training staff. Dawn is currently on staff at the Edmonton Humane Society and a Kennel Assistant with us. She will take over Level 1 assessments and skills upgrading from Lise Benoit, who is relocating to Gagetown, NB with her family. A la prochaine, Lise, and welcome, Dawn!
We have been working quietly in the background soliciting some large initial donations to our Capital Campaign and we can now report that we are 25% of the way to our goal of 1 million dollars! You can take part in this legacy project. Contact John Wheelwright at the office to learn how you can change a life for the better.
The annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic and Annual General Meeting is Thursday, June 25, 2015, at Dogs with Wings’ Edmonton location. All are invited to attend this event. The grill is open at 5:00 with the AGM beginning at 6:00 pm. Volunteers, clients’ family, and friends are welcome!
In preparation for our AGM, Dogs with Wings is seeking community leaders to sit as members of our Board of Directors. The Board sets policy and provides strategic direction for the organization. We are particularly interested in hearing from people living in Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, and Edmonton. For more details, please contact John at 780.944.8011.
We Recognize our Satellite Foster Programs You could be forgiven for thinking that Dogs with Wings is an Edmonton organization. Our office and training centre are located here; all of our adult dogs in training live locally, and the largest puppy program is in the metropolitan region. But that’s not the whole story. Since its inception in 1996, we have served clients from all regions of the province and as we have grown, we have established a volunteer system that supports our dogs in training in the same way. This column is dedicated to our wonderful volunteers across Alberta who are raising a dog through Dogs with Wings.
Recently, we went to Camrose and met a group of 30 people interested in meeting Dogs with Wings and learning more about our life-changing programs for Albertans with disabilities. It all began with a phone call asking if we had puppies in Camrose. Off we went to speak to local families about our puppies. Someone knew of a place where we could hold our classes; someone else suggested a couple of local trainers who could assist with leading classes. A local veterinarian is on board to provide care and, so it goes – the organic growth of another successful puppy program in another Alberta community.
Our Camrose experience matches what we have done in Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Calgary. It brings to a total over 200 people who share our vision of increased independence, safety, and integration for Albertans with disabilities. To our satellite program trainers and our volunteers everywhere, we salute you!
2015 Graduation Date Set Our 2015 graduates are getting ready to take the stage on Sunday, May 31st at 1:00 pm at the Chateau Louis Hotel, Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton. The closure of the Edmonton Petroleum Club has forced us to choose another venue. However, we know that this will be a meaningful event for clients, puppy and adult foster families, staff, and friends. It is also an opportunity to recognize our donors and sponsors who do so much for us. This event is free and a wonderful opportunity to meet our clients, their new canine partners and to celebrate. We’d love to see you.
DWW Celebrates the ‘Z’ Litter DWW Madison recently gave birth to a litter of 8 yellow Labrador pups and with that, we have gone full circle through the alphabet. Since our early days, we have developed a breeding program that will serve us well into the future with a supply of good assistance dogs. An essential part of any program like ours, we are proud of our dogs. To celebrate this event, we are accepting names beginning with this letter. Send your suggestions to us via our general email address on our website contact page.
Are You a Calgary Area Runner? Dogs with Wings has signed up for the 2015 Charity Challenge, Calgary Marathon. This event caters to a side variety of runners, from a 5k Family Fun Walk & Run, and a Kids Marathon, right up to the 50K Ultra. We can offer you free registration through a code, so please contact us at the office. Registration is all online. So gather up some friends, get some pledges, and come on out for one of the Calgary highlights of the year. The race is May 28th to May 31st, and additional details can be found at: http://calgarymarathon.com/charity-challenge.html?lang=EN .
About Dogs with Wings: Dogs with Wings is a leader in the international community of assistance dog training schools. Our organization exists to serve people with disabilities. We work collaboratively, and in partnership with other organizations that provide assistance dogs to people with disabilities.
Contact Us: Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society | 780.944.8011 | Edmonton, Alberta Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society | 587.284.3647 | Calgary, Alberta
Service Alberta Fraud Prevention Month At the invitation of Service Alberta, we recently attended a media event to launch Fraud Prevention Month. This event highlighted the various types of commercial fraud often committed in Alberta. Dogs with Wings was included to draw attention to the improper use of fake identification cards and service jackets by those wishing to have their dogs accompany them in public. Legitimate guide and service dogs receive picture identification cards from the government. Our dogs in training have identification issued by Dogs with Wings. Those who pass off the family pet as a service animal face prosecution and a fine of up to $1,000 upon conviction. This situation is more serious than it might first appear. Dogs without the proper training can pose a risk not only to our clients who need their dogs but also to members of the public and fake service dogs undermine the confidence of the public that dogs wearing jackets will exhibit high standards of behaviour and can be trusted. Legitimate service dog users will never object to being asked to produce their identification.
New Teams Graduating Soon We’ve celebrated some new teams this month, with DWW Roo, Star and Oakley leaving us to begin their forever jobs. The announcement of details for this year’s May graduation should be expected shortly. With the recent closure of the Edmonton Petroleum Club we are forced to find a new venue but we will have the final details sorted soon. This free event is open to all and is a wonderful opportunity to see the DWW team, our clients and our sponsors in action.
Pigeon Lake Sled Dog Club The Pigeon Lake Sled Dog club donated $4,000 to us from their annual race weekend and we had the opportunity to spend some time with fellow dog lovers.
We’re back in full swing after a busy January and February is already filing up. We have 3 dogs being placed with clients this month and autism instructor Moira and Training Director Maria will be putting in long days to ensure our new clients are familiar with how their new canine partners work and how to care for them. We are very proud of all our graduates and these 3 are no exception. Look for them on the graduation stage in May.
We welcome new Pilot Guide Sponsor, ServiceMaster of Edmonton to the DWW family. Service Master specializes in disaster cleanup & restoration and was the recipient of a 2013 Consumer Choice Award for northern Alberta. Welcome, ServiceMaster of Edmonton; we appreciate your support!
This month should bring confirmation that we are about to have the “Z” litter, which means we’ve worked our way through the complete alphabet, missing only the ‘X’ litter. Our breeding program is thriving and along with our membership in a breeding cooperative, it will ensure we have a steady supply of wonderful dogs to place with the Albertans who need them. We are accepting applications now from those interested in receiving a spring puppy to raise for us. Contact Kerri Davis at 780.944.8011 for more details on this rewarding opportunity.
We hosted the second in a series of Client Evenings this month and enjoyed the presentation from Hali Fitzpatrick whose grandson uses DWW Max. A number of our puppy raisers came along to get a better idea of the difference these dogs make in the life of a child with autism.
The training centre was also the scene of a sewing bee this month and 25 people descended to make 60 puppy jackets, 71 blankets, 30 collars and 71 tugs. Also added were curtains to encourage calm in our dogs while they are waiting in the kennel areas.
Our Casino is quickly approaching on the 18th and 19th and we still have a few shifts to fill. This is an essential part of DWW’s fundraising and will mean approximately $80,000 to us. If you can help, we could sure benefit.
Welcome to the first of Dogs With Wings’ monthly updates. We have said goodbye to the Canine Courier in favour of a format that we can generate more efficiently. Each month we will collect all the news that’s fit to print (and maybe some that isn’t!) and circulate it by email and for our first one, post to our blog. We will still have stories about our clients and the wonderful ways that their dogs help them to be independent in the community. Occasionally, we will give updates on our dogs are up to at the training center and out in the community with their volunteer raisers.
Of course we will continue to focus on the wonderful support we receive from our donors, sponsors and volunteers as they help spread the word about Dogs with Wings and its mandate to assist Albertans living with disabilities.
New Calgary Puppy Program
2013 Has seen the introduction of a puppy program in Calgary, and is the result of many years planning. Five puppies are being raised there under the guidance of trainer, Cat Harbord. Thanks go to brand new fosters Jamie & Kris Anton for looking after DWW Rogan (Brad Churchill, Remax – Sponsor), Jodie Musgrove who is caring for DWW Shadow (Columbus Club), the Hunters, who have DWW Yogi (Canadian Oilmens’ Executive Association) Lisa Hofmeister, with DWW Scout and Steve & Christine Murphy with DWW Manhattan, aka ‘Manny’. These fabulous folks join volunteers in Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Edmonton and Grande Prairie in the role of giving basic handling and obedience training to our newest recruits. The Calgary pups are already out in local malls and at the C train stops getting invaluable experience they will need later on.
Dogs in Adult Training
We welcome DWW Hutch, Madison, Astro, Kinder, Harris, Star and Reese into advanced training at the Edmonton center. All of the obedience work is behind them now and Trainer Moira Wegner reports she is getting to know each dog individually and learning about their talents as she builds each dog’s skills up towards being placed with a client. She says that this time of ‘new beginnings’ for the adults in training is one of discovery and challenge and she loves seeing them grapple with new tasks they face for the first time.
Dogs with Wings will be closed from noon on December 24th and will reopen at 9:00 am on January 2nd. Please ensure that you have enough food to last you through the holiday and that if you need a short term boarding home, that you contact Lise as soon as possible.
The holiday season is just around the corner and we would like you to consider making a gift to Dogs with Wings so that we can continue to provide life-changing dogs to the Albertans who need them. A charitable tax receipt will be issued for any donation over $20.00. If you choose to make your gift using one of the ‘donate’ buttons on our site, a tax receipt will automatically be issued to you. You can also call the office and made a secure donation over the phone or mail a cheque to us at 11343 174 Street, NW Edmonton, Alberta T5S 0B7.