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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Born of Necessity

It's just a regular Saturday morning at Service Dog United...or is it? Something extraordinary happened this week, giving birth to a brand new program called The PET Project! This program was born from necessity, as more and more dogs were building up lengthy stays at our county shelter, and a proactive solution to many problems laid out in last month’s county commissioners meeting concerning dog shelter policy.

PET stands for Purposeful Engagement and Training, and it's all about making a positive impact on the lives of our furry friends. Meet Ryker, Georgia, and Fletch - three amazing dogs who were recently adopted from the Ashland County Dog Shelter. These wonderful pups had been waiting for their forever homes for over a year or longer facing the challenge of not "showing" well to potential adopters.

Service Dog United recognized their potential and decided to give them a second chance through the PET Project. This innovative program aims to adopt dogs that have had an extended stay due to non-aggressive reasons and help them become trained and adoptable.

Currently, Service Dog United has four incredible programs. First, Buddy's Buddies focuses on breeding, procuring, and training service dogs for military veterans, first responders, and Gold Star families. Then, there's Service Dog Education, which educates communities and businesses on service dog risk and liability, making the world a more service dog-friendly place.

Additionally, SDU’s Emotional Support Animal (ESA) program places support animals in police stations, fire stations, hospitals, and schools to assist first responders in coping with difficult and emotional situations. These dogs are truly heroes!

Ian Robinson, Executive Director and one of the team members at Service Dog United, emphasizes the importance of a close-knit community and love for our neighbors - including our canine companions. He proudly states that Ashland continually proves that this is the best place to foster this sense of community:

“This is our ‘why’ - and our why becomes someone else's where, when, and how. We are committed to turning dreams into reality and making a difference in the lives of both humans and animals for a life of service.

However, we cannot do it alone. The PET Project is not cheap, and we need support from our incredible community. The cost of training alone amounts to over $1100 per dog, if the dog can stay on plan, and that doesn't even include boarding and feeding expenses. Every little bit counts, and every contribution can help us change lives.”

Supporting this uplifting cause gives these dogs the chance they deserve to find their forever homes.

Anyone interested in adopting can reach Ian Robinson at Service Dog United by calling (330) 390-0285 or via Facebook to inquire about the dogs available through The PET Project Program. Donations can be dropped off at Service Dog United at 1710 Garfield Avenue in Ashland by appointment.





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