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Working Dogs Visit Seniors in Frederick

Assistance dogs can help people facing hearing loss by responding to sounds and alerting their handler.
FREDERICK, Md. - A six-month-old puppy being raised at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown made a trip to Frederick Saturday. He’s being trained by inmates to become a service dog that will be able to help a disabled Veteran.

“They really give a disabled veteran the freedom to move around in society and gain normalcy and stability, even though they may have suffered some sever injuries during the war,” said Sandy Gill, a volunteer puppy raiser.

A service dog in training and a therapy dog came out to meet with the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America. Volunteer puppy raisers Sandy and Dave Gill brought the dogs out to teach seniors about how they can help people dealing with hearing loss. They also spoke about the benefits of therapy dogs and service dogs, and the different kinds of support they both provide.  

“A therapy dog is used in situations where people need a little bit of comfort or work on certain things. So we take Toby to nursing homes, and there it is mostly for comfort. Most people have a bond with dogs, are attracted to dogs and there's something very soothing about interacting with a very calm dog, which therapy dogs are,” says Volunteer Puppy Raiser Dave Gill.

Assistance dogs can help people facing hearing loss by responding to sounds and alerting its handler. Service dogs follow its handler, and The Gill's say they're trained to be ready and willing to do what’s needed of them.

The service dog in training is spending the weekend with Sandy and Dave Gill, they have been volunteer puppy raisers for three years.

“They’re being trained on basic obedience commands and they move on to specialized commands such as turning light switches on and of, they learn to open dogs,” said Gill.

The Gill’s say inmates have to have perfect behavioral records for at least two years to be able to be considered for the program to train a service dog. They say service dogs cost nearly $50,000 dollars, and that disabled veterans get them for free.

 



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