Pets helping people

BUCKHANNON—West Virginia Service Dog Support Group (WVSDSG) is a group of people that care about service dogs and their handlers. They have joined together to provide education and networking for all members.

A “service animal” is defined as an animal that helps a person with a disability. These terms may include “assistance animal,” “service animal,” “emotional support animal,” “behavioral support animal” and others. Federal and WV State laws, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, provide for the accessibility, acceptance, equal rights, and use of service dogs.

WVSDSG is comprised of individuals that have joined together to educate and learn about Service Dogs as a community. They focus on educating families, schools, societies, and businesses concerning service
dogs, what constitutes a true service dog, and the many tasks service dogs provide.

This nonprofit organization also helps educate the public with understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act and what is required to comply with the law. They educate service dog handlers on the ADA law and appropriate training techniques. The group helps support each individual based
on their specific needs, and we help research and customize tasks that will help each person’s disability The West Virginia Service Dog Support Group consists of veterans and civilians with Service Dogs and Service Dogs in Training. Much of what they do is individual evaluation of puppies and young dogs to place the dogs with the best temperaments and highest intelligence with those in need of service dogs.

The pairing of the dogs with the handlers is based on the personalities of both the human and the dog and what the dog is capable of doing based on individual needs.

Donations are appreciated and used for educational purposes, which consists of handler training, service dog instruction, informational literature from professional trainers and veterinarians, business cards, pamphlets, practice for handlers and their service dogs.

The group is committed to helping anyone that is working with a Service Dog or might be a candidate for a Service Dog. Their motto is, “No one should do this alone.”

Meeting locations vary, so they encourage people to visit their Facebook page. Their meetings start at 6 p.m. with dinner, then move to a focus on training. The educational meetings discuss handler responsibility, service dog training, public access, law compliance, and service dog equipment. They
also provide hands on activities such as public bus practice, EMS practice, and Fire Truck practice.


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