30 Day Training & Exposures Program
Part of Anthem's mission is to rescue dogs to become service dogs. We are striving for this mission due to the over capacity of shelters and the the amazing dogs sitting in kennels who are incredibly fit for service dog life.
Did you know?
Most dogs, by no fault of their own, that are dropped at shelters or rescue groups are surrendered because families do not "have" the time to exercise, stimulate, and train them?
We have been working closely with breed-specific rescue organizations and making new contacts with shelters around Oklahoma to find homeless dogs suitable for service dog work.
Our program first consists of a series of tests to bring out dog's natural responses to things like loud noises, toys, human touch, etc. Things that he will experience throughout the rest of his life. Once we have decided the dog has potential, we arrange his adoption or foster with us. In the beginning the candidate is allowed to settle for a few days before starting any rigorous training. Within the first week dog is introduced to public spaces, obedience training, and light tasking.
As dog progresses we start introducing more uncomfortable scenarios like vacuums, lawn mowers, traffic, etc. By the 4th week we evaluate all of the responses, reactions, outcomes, and progress and decide of dog should continue with us or return to its rescue. If dog came from a foster-based rescue we send dog back to them or we adopt out as a family pet. If dog came from shelter we then adopt through our own process so he doesn't have to experience the shelter again.
This process has been proving worthy of continuation so far because in the end a dog with a great home is what counts whether it is a working dog or a pet/companion!
Continued below are our stories from the past year!
Gideon here (the black lab) was our very first rescue who tried our program. Though he was a total sweetheart, his path was not one leading down a life of service.
Gideon was adopted out to a family with a great farm and siblings to play with!
Opie-Bear, now Charlie, tried his very best! He picked up obedience very quickly but the tasking was only slowly developing. We noticed he had such a special way with every person he met that we just couldn't deny him loving on humans as that was his very favorite part of his day. We are partnered with a special group of therapy dogs in Oklahoma City who, when they met him, said "We have never met such a natural [therapy] dog who knows what each person's needs are!" He was placed with a very special family who has began his therapy training. He will be visiting the children's hospital and OCU campus throughout each week once fully certified!
Taco, as you have seen, has been a rock star! He came from Lab Rescue and before that had been in Tulsa Animal Welfare for about 30 days. By his 3rd week in our program he was opening and closing doors! We knew we had a special guy with his super happy demeanor and ability to learn new skills on the spot. He is going to not only bring freedom to a disabled applicant but will bond so well and always turn a frown upside down. We love Taco so much and are so incredibly blessed to have him!
Missy was a sweet little girl left at a boarding facility for a month. It is sad because at just 6 months old this is such a rough start to life! We were given the opportunity to try her in our program and though she had the sweetest demeanor, she just wasn't thrilled with the stress of the job. But thats ok because we didn't ask for more than she wanted to give and her foster family found a great home full of love and comfort knowing she would never be left again!
We swore she was Beret's TWIN! She had the same birthday and... just look at those two!!
Bottom of the melted chocolate pile...
She just wanted to feel safe and snuggled!
Rocket came from a rural shelter in central Oklahoma as a stray. He tested well but none of us could predict his energy level in the 60 minute visit we had with him! He has the the ability to work for 24 hours if you let him. Unfortunately that is not ideal for a slower paced human who also may need a day or two off due to physical or psychological disabilities. We will be finding him a home of an energetic person or family with lots of time and lots of physical activities!