Service Dogs, Inc. of Austin, Texas

September 2017 E-news

We’re Building & We Want Your Name On It!

30 years is almost here!

We are adopting more dogs from animal shelters all over Texas than ever.

We need a new kennel for the newbies.

Why?  Because shelter dogs usually arrive with something contagious. They need to live apart from the other dogs until we know they are healthy – at least 10 days.

Our original two doggie dorms are full of canine heroes in training.

Our new Hero Dog Digs will house 18 new dogs per year.  Like our first two kennel buildings, it will have central air conditioning and heating, a kitchen, a grooming area and a laundry room.  The cost is $175,000.

Now that sounds like a lot, but we know we can build Hero Dog Digs together, brick by brick!

We want to memorialize your donations:

Gifts of $5,000    Sponsor a Kennel Suite ~ Your name, company logo or dedication on a bronze plaque on the suite door

Gifts of $1,000    Sponsor a Stone Paw ~ Your name and/or inscription engraved for the ages

Gifts of $100   Sponsor a Personalized Brick ~ Your name and/or inscription

The bricks and Stone Paws on our Training Building and Visitors Center look new after 11 years.  We love walking past them and seeing the names and tributes of everyone who helped us build it.

Now it’s your turn.  Think of someone you love or loved – human, canine, feline or even a wonderful saying you want to immortalize.  Fill out the form and we’ll invite you to the ribbon cutting.

We are excited to expand our campus to welcome more abandoned dogs to new lives of love and service.

Please join us in building Hero Dog Digs – and help us continue 30 years of Turning Strays Into Stars.

Jive Talkin’

Trainers Elizabeth and Jane noticed the little white dog curled up on a soiled, stained bed pillow at the back of his run at San Antonio Animal Care Center.  It was the only comfort that he had at the city shelter with one of the highest euthanasia rates in the country.

The little white dog looked defeated.  But as the trainers walked by, hardly slowing down, he perked up, raising his shaggy white head and seeking their eyes with his own.

“Let’s just give him a try,” suggested Jane.

Slipping a looped nylon leash around his head, Elizabeth and Jane led him out of the run and into the sunshine outside behind the building.  The little white dog transformed immediately into a happy, friendly, energetic dynamo.

“He wanted to be wherever we were,” recalls Elizabeth.  “He was a completely different dog. He aced his temperament test.”

Once he arrived at SDI, the trainers discovered that the little white dog, now christened Jive as part of SDI’s Dance Party theme, was infested with ticks.  They stopped counting after pulling off the first thirty.  There were so many more baby ticks that they lost count.  Medicine from the vet soon cleared those up and Jive was ready for the dance floor.

He got his initial training as part of the PAWS program, a partnership between SDI and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.  Jive lived with and was trained by one of the boys in the PAWS program at the Ron Jackson facility in Brownwood, Texas.  The program has been so successful that this young man and four of the other boys traveled to San Antonio to help PAWS administrator Cris Burton give a presentation at the American Correctional Association Conference.

“Nicolas” talks about PAWS and gives a training demo with Jive at the American Correctional Association conference in San Antonio, Jan. 2017

Jive is now back at SDI.  He loves his job alerting his trainers to sounds.  He performs this by enthusiastically touching his partner with his two front paws as he is too little to make much of an impact with our traditional nose touch.  Next he will meet his new deaf partner at the next Matching session.  We plan for them to be part of our first Team Training Class of 2018.

Jive has touched many lives since he left that lonely stained pillow at the shelter.  Your tax deductible gift towards his training will help him do even more good at the job he was destined to do – be a lifeline for someone who can’t hear the sounds in her world.

Won’t you get on the dance floor with Jive?

Please consider a tax deductible gift to help Jive and his partner stay in step!


Meet Jive and Our Other Dogs In Training!

A Toast to Champagne!

Champagne is one of three puppies from Jeté’s litter of ten that is training to be a Service Dog.  Barb Gadola, her Foster Trainer, reports that Champagne loves to train. She will turn up her pretty little nose at a bowl full of kibble, but eagerly train for the same kibble offered as rewards.

This twelve week old pup is getting a lot of outings under her belt. Champagne’s social calendar includes accompanying Barb to Pet Supplies Plus, Auto Zone, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply and Tuesday Morning. Barb reports that when she shops too long, Champagne gets bored and takes a cat nap.

Champagne’s friends include many other dogs, Barb’s cat and resident chickens. She is learning how to be calm around the chickens while she is on a leash.  So much to learn when you are le bebe destined for greatness.

Our thanks to Barb and our other Foster Trainers for their dedication in guiding our youngest Service Dogs in Training.

It takes $45,000 to train each Hearing and Service Dog and provide follow up for the dog’s lifetime.  We provide the dogs and training free of charge to disabled folks throughout Texas.

Won’t you please consider contributing to support Champagne’s training?  You gift is tax deductible.

You can donate with a check to:

Service Dogs, Inc.
4925 Bell Springs Road
Dripping Springs, TX 78620


Donate online here

Our tax I.D. number is 76-0260567

Here’s to Heavy Petting!

In these days of digital marketing and fancy strategies, petting a loving dog may seem simplistic. But there is something quite profound about connecting with what is important to your soul through physically touching a dog that you helped rescue and meeting the person that dog is in turn helping to rescue.

It took a lot of heavy petting to get Service Dogs, Inc. to 30 years – thank you!

When one of our graduates said, “I wish I had a nickel for every time somebody wanted to pet my dog,” a genius idea was born. Charge people to pet the dogs!

Because we provide the dogs and lifetime follow up free of charge, donations keep us going.  And because we want every dollar to go to our services, we try to avoid spending money on fundraising doodads in the hope that people will buy them.

When we rolled out our Heavy Petting booth at Houston’s Astro World Series of Dog Shows, people crowded our booth.  Designed like an old time county fair kissing booth, featured giant red hearts hand pained with “Heavy Petting 50¢”.

“50¢,” people would ask, incredulous.  “What do I get for a dollar?”

Everyone had fun – the guests, the clients, us and our dogs.  People were always generous with donating much more than 50¢, and everyone felt like a big spender.  As they lovingly petted our dogs, we had the opportunity to tell them about our program.  Our clients, like Gina, were great ambassadors for SDI.

We not only got donations, we got new clients, volunteers and even future staff members.

So here is to more heavy petting in the years to come.  Now, tweet about that!

Photos: Gina and GG serving up some unconditional love at the Astro World Series of Dog Shows 2006.