08 Aug It takes a village……..
This week at Smart Pups……
it was time to celebrate again at our monthly foster breakfast, with thanks to the generous support of The Surf Club Mooloolaba. Foster families gathered to catch up, exchange stories and to give best wishes to Jack the labradoodle and Nyles the Labrador. Jack, Nyles and his sister Nina, who sadly could not attend, will all be placed with their forever families very soon.
Looking at all the wonderful Smart Pups volunteers who gathered on the stage for each graduating dog reminded me of the African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. In this case our ‘children’ are our special trainee pups. I reflected that each of these dogs have completed their journey from little new pup to graduating dog with the help of several families. A community of volunteers, with a common goal, each contributing in their own way to providing the wealth of experiences and training that a service dog will need.
In the past our dogs were often fostered by one family for their entire training, and although this does still happen the structure of our busy lives makes it more of a rare event. But how good is it that instead we can work collaboratively giving our dogs the chance to live in different households and ourselves the chance to connect with each other through our shared experience and love of dogs.
As our lives become busy and stay at home foster parents become harder to find Smart Pups has become more innovative in its approach to seeking help. New graduate dog Nina is a great example having spent the first ten months of her training life on rotation with the Maryborough Correctional Centre and the last months of her training fostered by the Mcpherson Group in Brisbane, commuting to work on the train, and being fostered within a working office environment.
There are plenty of studies to show the benefits of having an animal in the workplace, but this benefit surely must be increased when fostering also fulfils the role of giving back to the community.
With our older dogs out for training daily this idea of office fostering is something Smart Pups would encourage other workplaces to consider.
The benefits of our dog and inmate training partnership program in prisons are even more fulfilling to all concerned. I am looking forward to bringing you some of these inspiring stories soon.