On Monday, April 21, 2008, the San Francisco SPCA unceremoniously terminated its 30-year-old Hearing Dog Program. The director, the lead trainer, and a staff animal caretaker were also laid off. Supporters wondered if the program could go on. Well, good news: The program is alive and well, and recently held a celebration for its newest graduates!
The mission of the SF/HDP is to improve independence and quality of life through highly trained hearing dogs. It is a full-service, comprehensive hearing dog program for the deaf and hard of hearing for all of California and Nevada. Unlike other organizations, they provide follow-up training for graduates, successor dogs for past clients, reference and referral, and public education services. The SF/HDP now has two new programs, one for seniors and one for veterans. They also train dogs in mobility assistance and for any other special needs clients may have. |
The SF/HDP doesn’t breed dogs like most assistance dog programs; instead they rescue dogs from shelters all over the Bay Area and Central California. Watching these dogs given a second chance at life bringing love, support and independence to their new guardians is truly magical.
Along with donations, the SF/HDP needs volunteers, help with PR/media relations, Web design, grant writing, foster parenting, transportation for dogs from kennels to homes, and fundraising. They are also looking for people to help come up with ideas for event planning and fundraising. Creative minds and alternative thinking are always welcome!
You can support the SF/HDP via Paypal on their Web site, www.hearingdogprogram.org or by contacting their office at 415-321-1762.