Tell us a little about yourself!
I work for an online furniture company called Article and volunteer full-time raising puppies to become assistance dogs with PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs Society) in the Lower Mainland.
Tell us about your #MakeWaves project.While I already volunteer full-time helping to raise PADS' puppies, I want to further give back to my community by providing a donation to PADS so that they may continue raising and training assistance dogs to help provide clients with life-changing dogs. The current pandemic has affected PADS' ability to fundraise in many ways, as several of their largest fundraisers of the year occur during the spring and had to be cancelled this year sadly, so this opportunity to give back more to them would be incredible!
What inspired your project and what impact would you like to make?
PADS is a non-profit that raises and trains purpose-bred dogs to be placed with clients. Their service (mobility & PTSD) and hearing dogs provide life-changing independence to those with physical disabilities other than blindness. And their accredited facility dogs work with community professionals. Not only do assistance dogs impact the lives of individuals, but they also do invaluable work for the greater community. PADS has placed accredited facility dogs (AFDs) with teachers, counsellors, RCMP, and more, and these dogs continue to work with, and give back to, the community during this pandemic.
As teachers have had to move to teaching virtually, their AFDs have assisted with this process, helping to make the transition to virtual learning fun for their students, especially ones whom may be struggling with the big change. Several of PADS' accredited facility dogs are currently working with first responders, such as with police and hospitals, to help release stress and tension in our frontline heroes, in lieu of working with their usual clients, due to the changes the pandemic has brought.
One special AFD in particular is Koltan, who works with his client at e-comm 9-1-1 to help in reducing stress for the call takers. Koltan has been continuing to work hard to bring smiles to the faces of those in the 9-1-1 call center during this unprecedented time. Without PADS, the placement of these life-changing dogs would not have been possible, and members of our community would not be able to receive the positive benefits from them during this time if it weren't for PADS.
The amazing team of volunteers and staff at PADS are a daily inspiration for me! Each and every one of them work tirelessly to help change the lives of individuals and our communities through the placement of highly skilled, certified assistance dogs. I became involved with volunteering for PADS three years ago and have seen first-hand the positive impact these dogs can have on clients and communities. The puppies-in-training facilitate interactions between members of the community when the puppies are out in public, bridging social barriers between individuals. And the fully certified assistance dogs can provide support to those who need it the most, whether that's through daily tasks, such as item retrieval, opening doors, alerting to smoke alarms, interrupting nigh terrors, and more, or through providing a calming presence and stress reduction after traumatic events, such as after shootings, court cases for vulnerable persons, or, now, during a pandemic.