Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thank You for Donating on #GivingTuesday!

What an incredible day! In 24 hours on #GivingTuesday, you helped us raise $8,963 for vet care for our service dogs in training! Thank you for your generosity!

Your donations will go to work almost immediately. Tomorrow, nine puppies are visiting PETS (Pet Emergency Treatment and Specialities) in Lancaster, PA for their CERF eye exams. These eye exams are important for future service dogs. We need to make sure that our dogs are free from heritable eye disease so they can successfully assist their future partners.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our dogs in training and their future partners!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Support Susquehanna Service Dogs on #GivingTuesday

Help us raise $5,000 in one day on #GivingTuesday! 

Susquehanna Service Dogs is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. All of the money we raise that day will help cover the costs of veterinary care for our service dogs in training. Vet bills are one of our biggest expenses. It costs $100 just for each dog's annual check-up! 

How will your donation help?

  • $26 covers an eye exam for one 8-week-old puppy
  • $52 covers eye exams at 8 weeks and one year
  • $90 covers hip X-rays for one puppy
  • $100 covers an annual check-up for one puppy
  • $310 covers all vet appointments and vaccinations for one puppy's first year
Why should you donate?

It's so important for our future service dogs to be healthy. When we place a service dog with their new partner, we want that dog to be able to work and perform the tasks they were trained to do. We would never want to place a dog that would only be able to work a few years. Neither would we want to place a dog that's going to need extensive vet care. Service dogs should make their partner's life easier, not more challenging. 

That's why we check our dogs' eyes, hips, and elbows, and make sure our dogs get regular vet check-ups. We want our dogs to make a positive difference in their partners' lives. When you donate on #GivingTuesday, you're supporting healthy service dogs who will one day change people's lives. 

Learn more about our #GivingTuesday efforts and how you can support Susquehanna Service Dogs. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Volunteers Bill and Susan Tyson Receive the Edna Silberman Humanitarian Award

Congratulations to Bill and Susan Tyson! These long-time volunteers recently received Keystone Human Services’ Edna Silberman Humanitarian Award for their volunteer work with Susquehanna Service Dogs!

The Edna Silberman Humanitarian Award is given to a person or persons who has made significant contributions to people, the community, and Keystone Human Services, and has played a major role in making Keystone Human Services’ vision real in the lives of others. As you may know, Susquehanna Service Dogs is a program of Keystone Human Services.

We’re so pleased that the Tysons were chosen to receive this year’s award! They’ve been volunteering with SSD for over 13 years, ever since Susan answered an ad for puppy raisers and started raising her first puppy, SSD Trout.

Since then, she and Bill have been an integral part of our organization. Bill has not only shared his home with many dogs in training over the years, but he has used his skills in building and repairing thing to take care of many of our needs. Just one small example is the ramp he built soon after we moved to our new property. This ramp made it possible so our partners who use wheelchairs could assess our buildings during Team Training. It seems like a small thing, but it made a huge difference. And that’s just one of the things Bill has done for us.

Susan has become one of our biggest champions and she’s involved in many different areas of the organization. Besides raising multiple puppies for us, she helps to educate people and communities about disabilities and the way service dogs can help people live more independently. She’s extraordinarily generous with her time, talents, and gifts.

Thank you, Bill and Susan, for being part of our program and helping to make our mission a reality in people’s lives!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Girl Scout Puppies: 10 Weeks Later

Guest post by Dana Little, Leader of Girl Scout Troop 11967, which whelped our Girl Scout Puppies

SSD Summit and SSD Scout at their first puppy class

It's hard to believe the Girl Scout Puppies turn 10 weeks old this week. While they have been placed in their newest roles with their puppy raisers and the girls are finishing up their project paperwork, I decided it's my turn to write the last Girl Scout Litter blog entry.

My eclectic troop of 8th graders are at the Cadette level, at which point they can opt to work toward the Silver Award, the second highest earned award in Girl Scouting. To earn this award, each girl must identify a problem in the community, come up with a plan on how to solve it, and the work a minimum of 50 service hours toward fixing that problem. The idea is that through this and the next level in Girl Scouting (the Gold Award), the girls can and will change the world.

When these girls were in 4th grade, we were working on the Bronze Award (precursor to the Silver), and we were introduced to Susquehanna Service Dogs through puppy hugging. The girls absolutely loved this project and we quickly realized the group had a common love for animals.

In late spring, one of the girls came to me and asked what I thought of whelping a litter of SSD puppies as a troop Silver Award project. Whelping a litter consists of taking care of the puppies and their mother from the time they're one day old until they're eight weeks old. In addition, the Silver Award project requires that the project be sustainable and that it have an awareness aspect to it. I had to admit, as overwhelming as it seemed, if it could be done it would be an amazing accomplishment.

Fast forward to September and we have successfully launched into service SSD Scout, SSD Tagalong, SSD Troop, SSD Archer, SSD Samoa, SSD Gordon, SSD Juliette, SSD Savannah, and SSD Summit. (Yes, the girls chose the names. Yes, they are based on the Girl Scout theme, and no, they are not all cookies.) Through this project, the girls have logged over 1,238 service hours; collected 795 items; created 4 billboards, one iMovie, numerous blog posts and social media entries; and even managed to get our little life changers blessed at church. We have one girl raising one of the puppies and three girls who are now SSD-approved sitters. Wow.

Girls, job well done. You have demonstrated a tremendous amount of commitment, responsibility, leadership, creativity, initiative, attention to detail, time management, passion, patience, friendship, love, caring, kindness, thoughtfulness, trust, tirelessness, and perseverance--all with a positive attitude. You have learned many important lessons, including those of life, death, and finishing what you start.

Thank you, SSD staff and volunteers, for believing in and supporting these girls. You took a chance on them, and in so doing, provided them with this amazing opportunity to make a difference. It's an experience they (and I) will remember forever.

If you are thinking about getting involved with Susquehanna Service Dogs, do it. There are numerous opportunities available, including adopting discharged pups like our SSD Samoa who has an eye issue. Not to worry, he will be placed in a caring home and will make a fantastic pet.

To find out more about SSD's work and to continue to follow the journeys of the Girl Scout Puppies, visit Susquehanna Service Dogs' Facebook Page or follow @SSDOGS on Twitter.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Kissing Puppies at Kipona

Guest post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

Greetings from Girl Scout Troop 11967! Last weekend our troop did so many exciting and amazing things! On Saturday, September 3, we went to Kipona in Harrisburg, PA. there we had an SSD kissing booth, which turned out to be a huge hit. Many people came to see the puppies, including the 7-week-old Summer Olympians Litter. We all had so much fun sharing the puppies with the public and spreading awareness about SSD's puppy raiser program.

Later that evening, we had a blessing for the puppies. We took all nine Girl Scout puppies to Grace Lutheran Church in Camp Hill, PA, and each puppy was acknowledged and blessed in the ceremony.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Water Pups: Girl Scout Puppies

Guest post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

The puppies just received their shots, and they are now allowed to go outside and play in the grass. The weather has been very nice lately, so our troop has been taking the dogs outside to play around. We also bring out a little kiddie pool for the puppies to splash around in.

The puppies enjoy exploring under the deck where they are covered with shade, and they play with sticks and inner tubes. They also like lying near the house to get shade and water from the hose.

Between the dirt under the deck and the water in the pool, the dogs often get very dirty. After we wash each dog and dry them, we take them inside to rest.

Going outside is a whole new adventure for the puppies and one they all seem to enjoy, although it is often difficult to control nine puppies playing outside for the first time! It is a great experience for us and them.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Girl Scout Puppies Eat Real Food

Guest post by Girl Scout Troop 11967

The puppies are growing so quickly! Their small, pointy teeth have started coming in, so we started feeding them gruel. Gruel is dog food soaked in hot water and then mashed up.The puppies get so excited that they walk all through the food bowl.

Also, they play with each other, wrestling and jumping around. Some, like SSD Scout, even play-growl.

We have to put mini vests on the puppies  so they can start learning what they feel like. Another thing we do is hand brightly colored objects from the side of the pen. Their eyes and ears are now fully open, so we have to get them used to bright colors and loud sounds.