Shelter Launches Stray to Service Program

Sheridan's Dog and Cat Shelter has launched a Stray to Service program. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Since November, volunteers and staff at Sheridan’s Dog and Cat Shelter have been helping stray dogs learn how to help people as service animals.

Shelter Director Jill Moriarty said the shelter received funding from a foundation to do a 48-week pilot project, which included selecting and training dogs, and now there are four dogs almost ready to step into roles as service animals.

She said the principle focus for the pilot project has been training dogs to help veterans, but that isn’t the only focus.

Another dog in the program has shown a talent for training as a dog to sniff out drugs and/or bombs. One of the first dogs to be placed is with Jason Remington, a veteran who was spending some bonding time with the animal Monday. For Remington, the matchup seemed to be a matter of coming to the shelter at the right time.

Moriarty said there are several service dog organizations, but the costs of animals from the programs can be prohibitive, ranging from $15,000 to $30,000.

Sheridan veteran Jason Remington gets better acquainted with his new canine friend. (Photo by Pat Blair)

She said the goals of the Stray to Service program here include keeping the animals more affordable, around $2,500 to $3,000, which is the cost to train the dog. She said moving forward, the shelter will need sponsors to help fund dogs in training or scholarships for adoption fees.

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