Several of our East Valley Marines loaded a donated electric wheelchair onto a trailer and delivered it to PowerPaws in Scottsdale. One of PowerPaws’ missions is to provide highly skilled assistance dogs to veterans with disabilities. The wheelchair will be used to assist in the training of the dogs that need to be familiar and at ease with any situation.
The detachment learned about this organization from the August meeting’s guest speaker, Carey Dullabo. Carey was accompanied by her son, Colton, who will soon be joining the Marines. However, the star of the evening was “Cooper,” a labradoodle. Cooper will soon be placed with a veteran affected by Agent Orange.
Dogs in training must be easy-going in temperament. Puppy-raiser volunteers are busy 24/7, and the training period is two to three years. At the end of training, every dog knows 90 commands and can perform activities like turning lights on and off, reminding an owner of when to take medications, detecting low blood glucose levels in diabetics, fetching items, providing comfort, assisting the deaf and helping with mobility.
The dog and the recipient veteran’s personalities are matched. After a dog is placed, the original handler will work with the new owner once a week for the first month. The cost of training a PowerPaws dog is approximately $22,000.