Why we use Rescued Dogs

Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA believes that whether or not a dog is bred to work, you still have a 50% chance that it will grow to become a suitable service dog.

Therefore, we firmly believe that rescuing homeless puppies to train to become assistance dog only further supports the greater need of the community.

Many of the programs that breed do not wish for dogs to end up in shelters, nor do they want to acknowledge that their released dogs are taking homes from dogs in shelters.  Some have attempted early on to use rescued dogs, but gave up after a few were released.

Their Take Our Take
The breeds that are generally highly trainable such as Labs and Goldens are adopted too quickly from shelters Petfinder.com shows 7,098 retriever or retriever mix puppies within a 500 mile radius of PAD waiting to be adopted today
Many shelter dogs are released due to health or temperament issues 

-Hip/Elbow Dysplasia
-Easily Frightened
-Easily Excitable

While working for an ADI accredited service dog program for 2+ years the founder of PAD personally witnessed 50% or more program bred dogs released for the exact same reasons

Most assistance dog programs (whether or not breeding or rescuing dogs) perform what we call a “Temperament Evaluation” on all puppies, and again at an older age.  We utilize a similar evaluation and only bring in puppies that score well.  In addition to those evaluations we have frequent evaluations of behavior and temperament, at a minimum of every 60 days.  We evaluate our dogs in training on this schedule in order to assess how much they are enjoying training.  Even if a dog is exceeding in the service dog field, if they are not enjoying the training and show frequent stress signs, we will release them.  When a puppy is released from the program they do not leave the trainers home until they are found a suitable and forever home.  The individuals not only apply with PAD, but must meet the dog and represent an appropriate, safe, and permanent home for them.  In contrary, our experience has been that when a program finally releases a puppy from a breeding program they either go to the first available adopter or bounce from one sitter or another until adopted.  This is for the benefit of the program so that the foster home can immediately begin raising another puppy.

We screen puppies so closely as they grow that we feel confident that when we place them as an assistance dog they will assist that individual for the same length of time as a program bred dog.

If a situation ever occurs that after being placed an individual needs to return the dog, they are welcomed back and return to their original trainers home (if at all possible).  At that point the dog is re-assed and placed in the best applicants pet home.  We do not believe in retraining and placing the dog as a new assistance dog.  It is extremely stressful when a dogs life is uprooted and we feel that the at that point, the dog deserves to retire to a permeant home.

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