Goodwill Service Dog Project
Hamilton County students were challenged to raise $25,000 in six weeks to train “Hamilton,” the first Goodwill service dog to be given to someone with disabilities in the county.
* Goodwill will provide the assistance dogs free of charge as an extension of its medical equipment program.
* Service dogs assist people with physical disabilities or other special needs in a variety of ways, including opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs and retrieving dropped objects.
* The nearest existing mobility assistance dog program is in Atlanta. The program has a waiting list of more than 700 people from across the country.
* For more information about the academy, call 423-629-2501, ext. 259.
Source: Chattanooga Goodwill Industries
In the Spring of 2010, the students of Hamilton County Schools answered the call and met that challenge!
The following is an update on Hamilton from Ramona Nichols - Program Director, Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy:
"Hamilton is seven-months-old and is very happy, healthy, and performing beautifully in the assistance dog training program. We at Goodwill Industries, are so proud of him and how he is educating thousands of children in our community about service dogs and the rights of people with disabilities. He is truly having a positive impact throughout our community already! He has already learned most of his service dog skills such as opening doors and drawers, turning on lights, and retrieving dropped or needed items. The average age that most canines are ready for the matching process to a person with a disability on our waiting list is about two years. We are very excited about his performance and are looking forward to the opportunity to place him as a lifelong companion and partner for someone in need."