Central Point facility trains dogs for deaf

(The following is an excerpt from the Grants Pass, Oregon, Daily Courier, September 11, 2015, by Ruth Longoria Kingsland)
Although service dogs are most often associated with guide dogs for the blind, Dogs for the Deaf has been providing trained assistance dogs for hearing impaired adults since 1977.
Dogs for the Deaf doesn’t just train purebred animals. Its staffers travel to rescue mixed-breed and other potential service dogs from animal shelters up and down the coast and in the central states, said LaDonna Seely, communications manager for Dogs for the Deaf.
“Our dogs come from Los Angeles to Denver, and then, when they are trained, they are placed in homes all across the country,” Seely explained.
Dogs selected for the program are typically between 1 and 3 years old, and demonstrate qualities deemed suitable for the training, added Hayley Jo Burns, an apprentice trainer at Dogs for the Deaf.
Burns said the dogs should demonstrate confidence, treat and toy enthusiasm, excitement to be around people, and quick recovery from sounds.
After the dogs are trained, they are placed in homes across the country, and in some cases, in Canada. Dogs for the Deaf trainers accompany the dogs to their future residences, where they spend four or five days in the homes, training clients to work with the dogs.
The cost to receive a hearing dog from Dogs for the Deaf is relatively minimal. The facility operates on public donations, and asks for a $50 client application fee and a $500 fee on acceptance. The $500 is returned to the client at the end of one year.
“The $500 is a good-faith deposit,” Seely explained.
Dogs for the Deaf animals are placed only with adults, 18 years old and older. The client must have verifiable proof of a hearing disability.
Dogs that don’t meet the training standards are adopted out – for free – from the facility.