Service Dogs Alabama Now an Accredited Member of Assistance Dogs International

Service Dogs Alabama Now an Accredited Member of Assistance Dogs International

Service Dogs Alabama (SDA) is a non-profit organization serving children, adults, and Veterans with disabilities, as well as schools, youth facilities, and courtrooms. SDA is proud to announce becoming a fully accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) who sets the gold standard for training and placement of service dogs. “We have been updating records and implementing training and safety methods to meet ADI standards. 

It has been a long and arduous process taking us two years and requiring documentation of every detail of a dog’s breeding, training, evaluation, and placement,” said Frances McGowin, SDA Executive Director. “Becoming an accredited member of ADI is the next step in the growth of our program.” ADI is a coalition of non-profit organizations from around the world that train and place many types of service dogs.

Service dogs are trained to complete many tasks and have a powerful effect on the independence, confidence, security, physical health, and psychological stability of the individual and groups that they serve. SDA trains dogs for a variety of needs including seizure alert, diabetic alert, mobility, wheelchair assistance and multiple intervention tasks for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Autism, as well as additional trauma interventions. All SDA dogs are trained in specific medical needs and intervention tasks according to the placement. At the time of placement, SDA’s fully trained service dogs are certified in public access and tasks and the handlers are provided services and training in accordance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), ADI, and Animal Assisted Intervention International (AAI-Int).

McGowin added: “Is it important for someone in need of a service dog to choose an accredited ADI member? Absolutely! By selecting an ADI Accredited Member program, those in need can ensure that the program is meeting the highest standards in the service dog industry, including standards for the treatment of clients, dogs, training, and ethical business practices.” ADI accredited programs have defined service areas (geographic locations) based on their ability to provide support for their clients. Each program has their own requirements for training and placing service dogs with clients. They vary by the types of dogs they train to meet a person or facilities specific needs, their placement service area, and the structure of their training program and funding resources.

As the oldest and largest non-profit organization in Alabama serving both veterans and children with disabilities, SDA is dedicated to providing medical and psychological assistance dogs to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities, as well as facility intervention dogs for schools and courtrooms. SDA has developed a 43-acre state-of-the-art training campus in Hope Hull, AL (Guice Slawson Training Complex), built an additional training and kennel facility in North Alabama, created a prison-based dog training initiative, and will soon open an office in Alabama’s Bay/Gulf area.

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