One Arroyo Grande non-profit organization is helping people with disabilities have access to service dogs. Their services not only ensure their independence, but can often times be life-saving.
“He stops me from being hit by cars, he stops me from running into things, getting hurt,” shared Kelly Bockhahn, a client at Doggy Does Good.
For the past ten years, Canan has helped Kelly when she’s most needed it.
“W hen I was 14 -actually when I was 12, the first time I brain hemorrhaged and I had to have brain surgery and with the second surgery I lost half of my vision,” she explained.
It was tough -Kelly had to rely on her friends or parents to walk anywhere before her four-legged best friend came into her life.
But thanks to Doggy Does Good, people like Kelly have one less thing to worry about.
“We find out specifically what that person needs and then we will asses what the dog will do for them,” said Sandy Sandberg, CEO at the non-profit organization.
“Once they get to a certain age they learn what to do, like what they’re best at,” added Gracie Gutierrez, a volunteer training a five-week Labrador, Braxton.
The service dogs can be trained with different tasks –from being the eyes or ears to the visually or hearing impaired, to turning on the lights for people with PTSD, or even helping the diabetic.
“[The dog] would grab on to the wrist…and she would frantically start licking. Sometimes she’ll lick for 20 minutes until you basically check your blood pressure,” explained S andberg.
The non-profit is offering service dogs at a fraction of the price to those who need it most, because normally, their prices are not cheap.
“They can be anywhere from $15,000 all the way to $40,000,” said S andberg.
Kelly understands the struggle.
“[People with disabilities] can’t always be working, or if they work it’s usually not full time. So usually someone with disability, it’s harder to find that money to pay for a service dog.”
And in honor of international service dog week, these trainers are happy man’s best friend is here to help.