Back in high school, I read a fiction book about a girl who was deaf getting her first hearing dog. The transformation she went through after having a dog geared to helping her always stuck with me. I researched local companies that provided hearing dogs and found Dogs for Better Lives. Over the years, I've enjoyed reading their success stories about how their dogs are helping real people live their lives more fully.
Originally known as Dogs for the Deaf, they have rebranded as their mission has expanded to providing service animals for other arenas. Only last week did I visit for the first time. It was awesome to learn a little more about how they are also serving people with Autism. These dogs have a calming effect on a child with Autism and can help them feel empowered. Dogs for Better Lives also train Facility Dogs who work with trained individuals, such as therapists or teachers, who work in scenarios where having a trained emotional support dog might be beneficial.
Some of you may have read one of my Instagram (@stephaniefordphotography) posts last week where I said I trained and taught in Special Ed. I truly believe having one of those Facility Dogs would've been such an asset! Having also worked with Autistic students, I believe that having a dog trained for them can help them come out of their shell.
The tour of the facility also demonstrated how they train dogs through positive reinforcement to alert the hearing impaired person to various sounds that might occur in their environment. They have onsite apartments where the dogs train and pair up with potential owners to learn together. It is very important that there is a good fit between the dog and their new master.
Because of my background as a hearing impaired individual and working with special needs students, this organization has a special place in my heart and business. They are my charity of choice and I donate 5% of package prices to them. Feel free to check out their website at dogsforbetterlives.org