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"Rescue to Service" program rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to be service dogs

Posted at 9:38 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 01:31:04-04

Handi-Dogs launched a new program called "Rescue to Service" that rescues dogs from animal shelters and teaches them to be service dogs. 

The organization rescues dogs from the Humane Society, Pima Animal Care Center, and Arizona Greyhound Rescue. 

For three months the dog lives and trains with a foster family. 

"I am just trying to get him to think about what the training means and makes decisions about if i do this, I will get a reward," said Edie Rens, a foster volunteer. 



After three months, the dog gets paired with a person with disabilities. That person will attend weekly classes to train the dog for their specific needs. These needs can range from hearing and seeing disabilities to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. 

"We just find there is a great bond between the person and the dog because they are really working together," said JoAnn Turnbull, the CEO/President of Handi-Dogs. "It is a team."

Scott Logan knows something about this. He has PTSD and got help to train his rescue dog Pablo two years ago.

"He knows," said Logan. "When I get anxious, when I get excited, when I am cheering for a football game, he thinks something is wrong so he comes up to me."

Logan explained he was in Costco one time and got anxious and before he could do anything, Pablo knew what to do. 

"He already senses it before I do and there we went outside," he said.

Logan says the owners that left Pablo on the street don't know what they are mission out on. 

"He knew exactly what he was meant for," said Logan. " He just had to find the right person and it's just really amazing with him."

If interested in becoming a foster volunteer or learning more about the program, Handi-Dogs will have an informational meeting Thursday, September 22nd.