Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
Ethan Caruso, President of Illini Service Dogs, and Margo Lanier, Penny’s Primary, join us with details on their organization at the University of Illinois.
Here’s more from Illini Service Dogs:
We are most closely related to mobility disorders and service dog culture, people are most interested to learn that our service dogs are fully raised and trained on campus at the University of Illinois by Illinois students.
We help people with mobility disorders by providing them with a service dog free of charge while also educating the community about disability culture. Some questions we commonly get from the community about our organization are, how can students get involved, is there a dog breed you specifically train? Do the dogs ever get to play? How long does our training process/training program take? Some things that we would love to share with others is some basic knowledge you should know about disability and service animal culture. One important thing is keeping aware of the ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) law that prevents discrimination of others based on their disability, and that with service dogs, you can go into public places with your service animal. When seeing a service dog in public, please do not call out or distract the dog while they’re working as this can distract them and allow them to lose focus. While service dogs can be very cute, they are mobility equipment first and companions/animal best friends second, so while they are very cute in public, it’s rude to stare or take pictures of someone’s service animal, as an example, you wouldn’t want to take pictures or pet someone’s wheelchair. We aim to solve the financial burden of acquiring a service dog as they can often cost thousands of dollars and we aim to relieve that financial burden so our placements can live their life comfortably.
What makes Illini Service Dogs so different and special is that as a Service Dog non-profit organization is that we do a puppyhood to placement process so the puppies come to us at a young age and are with us every step of the way of their training to placement, in addition to this, we operate as both a Registered Student Organization at UIUC and a nonprofit group and our training is conducted by University of Illinois students. Our most distinguishing feature that sets us apart from others is that we place our service Dogs completely free of charge, Our mission ends when the financial barriers to obtaining and owning a high quality service dog are eliminated and the public’s knowledge of the disability community and its right are second nature.
Our recent graduation merchandise fundraiser just closed but we have regular adorable content and helpful info posted frequently on our primary Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages @illiniservicedogs !