December 7, 2018 3:33 pm
Updated: December 7, 2018 3:37 pm

Cute pups in training for serious, life-changing work

Service dogs are a life-changing gift to a person with a disability, as they help their companions navigate life. Several are undergoing training here in the Okanagan, including a new member that arrived this week.

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Magic is a regular puppy, adorable and all, but this sweet dog has a purpose.

Magic is being raised to be a working member of the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, otherwise known as PADS.

“We breed raise and train service dogs,” said Brian Smith of PADS.

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“We take these little guys, squishy as they are, eight weeks into our home and teach them the basic skills to be a working service dog,” said Alli Sandberg, PADS raiser.

Over three years, Magic will be shown the world so that someday he can guide a person with a disability.

“All of our dogs stay with our raisers and live with our raisers 24-7, and they go everywhere that they go,” said Smith. “So if they’re going out shopping, out to a movie or out to dinner, their dogs are tagging along, so their dogs, our dogs, are comfortable in the human world.”

Scotia Wealth Management donated $6,500 to sponsor the work it takes to make Magic into a certified service dog — a truly life changing companion.

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“We have a very long client-waiting list, so they are placed with their clients when they finish their advance training,” said Smith. “Because placement is looking for a match, not necessarily who needs a dog.”

While it’s hard for trainers to let them go so soon, they say it’s entirely worth it.

“When you see the face of the person receiving the dog you’ve trained it makes it all worth it in the end,” said Sandberg.

So if you see Magic or any of the other pads dogs around the Okanagan, know they are pups in training for a very important job.

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