Feel Good Friday: A Priceless Addition

The Ability Center of Greater Toledo searches for fosters for a new litter of assistance dogs
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The month of July will mark the arrival of a litter of puppies with an important life mission.

Eventually, if all goes well, they will become assistance dogs, matched with new families by the Ability Center of Greater Toledo.

Allison Leatherman first met her service dog, Taylor, three years ago, which was three years after the car accident that left her in a wheelchair.

“Initially everyone was like, ‘you should get a service animal’, but I was like ‘nope’. First of all, I’m gonna have a miraculous recovery, and second of all, I don’t need any help,” she recalled.

But eventually, Leatherman came to accept that neither of those things was true. That’s why bringing Taylor into her home changed everything.

“She can open up doors and drawers, she can help me take my jacket off, she can go get help, pick up anything I drop. But more than that, she restored a bout of confidence for me. She gave me a sense of purpose,” said Leatherman.

About three months after the new puppies are born, the Ability Center will need new foster families, or “puppy raisers”. The organization’s public relations manager, Mallory Crooks, said that has been a challenge.

“It’s very tough because obviously coming out of COVID, people’s lives are completely different. So people are unsure of the opportunity because they’re not sure how well it will fit into their life schedule,” said Crooks. “We leave all the hard stuff to the trainers. All of the fosters and volunteers of our entire organization do not pay a single dime for anything.”

Right now, the Ability Center has about 70 dogs in its program, and each one requires an investment of around $70,000 to raise and train. In addition to volunteering to foster, you can also make a monetary donation, or buy supplies from an Amazon wish list online.

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