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Sep-25-2010 19:46printcomments

American Legion Auxiliary Raising Funds for Service Dog for Disabled Idaho Veteran

“We have learned how valuable a service dog can be to disabled veterans with a wide range of disabilities,” - Mary Stratton, auxiliary president, American Legion David Ketchum Post 15

Positive Partners Assistance Dog's Fran Jewell
Positive Partners Assistance Dog's Fran Jewell

(HAILEY, Idaho) - A disabled Idaho veteran will soon have his or her own service dog, thanks to a new affiliation between Positive Partners Assistance Dogs, Inc. and the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion David Ketchum Post 15.

Positive Partners Assistance Dogs trains four types of service or assistance dogs: mobility dogs for people who need balance and assistance climbing stairs or bending over, hearing assistance dogs, guide guides for the visually impaired, and wheelchair assistance dogs. Each service dog is custom-trained for the individual.

The cost of training a service dog is approximately $25,000, and the auxiliary already has raised more than half.

“We have learned how valuable a service dog can be to disabled veterans with a wide range of disabilities,” said Mary Stratton, auxiliary president.

“For example, if a disabled veteran has lost a leg, a service dog can pick up a dropped sock or go get a ringing telephone. All of these things make a huge difference in the day-to-day qualify of life. We are fortunate that we have a nationally recognized service dog training program based in the Wood River Valley.”

Positive Partners differs from most service dog training programs in several respects. In addition to custom-training service dogs for individuals with special needs that are not accommodated by most of the larger assistance dog training programs, Positive Partners uses “clicker” training, perhaps best known for its use in training whales and dolphins.

Assistance dogs also go directly from the “puppy raiser” to the handler, eliminating the difficult and expensive kennel phase of most service dog training programs. Positive Partners’ costs for training a service dog are as much as $10,000 below those of many other organizations.

Positive Partners will be responsible for the application process, training and placement of the service dog. To qualify, the applicant must be an American military wounded veteran. Interested disabled veterans can contact Positive Partners at or call 208-721-1309. The entire placement process, which includes interviews and selection of the applicant and selection and training of the assistance dog, take approximately two years.

For more information or to make a donation to the service dog training program for a disabled veteran, contact Stratton at sunvalleymary(at)aol(dot)com or 720-0370. Additional information is available at the Positive Partners Assistance Dogs website at

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