★Helping you and your pets live healthier, longer lives★ by Dr. Margo Hunt
I was invited to the Austin Dog Alliance today for a Vet Appreciation Day. I didn’t know exactly what I was in for, but who doesn’t like to be appreciated? Plus, a friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen in a while, invited me. She works closely with this group, and I wanted to see her… and, I love to get to know my friends’ interests better, so I decided to go.
Wow! I was amazed by this place. First of all, the campus is gorgeous. They have reclaimed a house and refurbished it, adding on an indoor (air conditioned!) training room and adapting the inside to better fit their needs. You know, with fire exits, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, that kind of thing. They were playing a video about their programs when I arrived. The video featured testimonials from some of the people who have participated in their classes and programs. I have to say, I was tearing up with some of the stories.
They work with autistic children because dogs have magical powers of calming people and bringing us out of our shells. Some of the kids who are virtually nonverbal at home, will speak to a handler for the opportunity of interacting with the dog. How great is that?
They also visit nursing homes and brighten the day of elderly people who otherwise may not have visitors. I’m sure plenty of them used to have pets, but weren’t able to bring them to the facility, and they miss that interaction.
Austin Dog Alliance also has a ton of outdoor space, an agility course you can rent out for practice with your own dog, a fenced in property for off-leash training and play as well.
Summer camp sessions are available where young kids (7-9) learn about dogs…. and the older kids get to actually bring their dogs with them to camp! I bet those are some happy dogs!!
They even do “parents night out” which is available for autistic kids as well. Since they are specially trained to care for these kids, everybody is happy and those parents can relax knowing their children are enjoying themselves as much as the parents. And of course, the dogs love it too!
Oh, and I forgot to mention the school for the deaf. They work with the kids and young adults there to help in therapy as well as job training for careers dealing with dogs such as groomers, veterinary assistants, and kennel workers.
I’m not sure exactly where I will fit in with this organization, but I’m looking forward to finding out. I hope they’ll join me at the Golden Hat Walk for Autism. And I hope all of you will take a look at their website and make use of their facilities whenever possible!
And to those vets who missed out on the Appreciation Day, I hear they are more than happy to give tours on an individual basis! Definitely worth stopping by!