Four of Tiga's puppies are now officially Helping Paws service dogs-in-training. The Peanut was chosen to be a potential breeding dog and placed with a caretaker home. She will go through the same training as the other four and eventually be used for public education. When she is two years old she will have her hips, elbows, eyes and heart checked and if everything looks good she will become a Helping Paws breeding dog.
The other four puppies were placed with their volunteer foster homes. Foster homes are very special people who take these puppies into their homes and hearts, work with them daily, attend weekly training classes, socialize and train them in public and of course, love them. They will teach them approximately 80 skills, including retrieving, turning on and off light switches, opening doors, snuggle and getting help. After two to three years the foster homes will give these well trained, wonderful dogs to an individual with a physical disability, other than sight or hearing.
At the end of the training, a Helping Paws dog is valued at $15,000. The people who receive them pay only a $50 application fee and an equipment fee of around $200. This is made possible through the generous donations of individuals, corporations, foundations and grants. If you would like to follow these puppies' progress as they develop into life changing gifts, please consider sponsoring one of them through the Helping Paws Blue Coat Benefactor program. For more information on how you can help, please visit the Helping Paws website, http://www.helpingpaws.org/ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things at our house are now pretty much back to normal. I am able to sleep later than 5:30. My dining room is now usable again and no longer contains a urine trap. Our deck is no longer boarded up and has been power scrubbed to remove any remaining evidence of five puppies. Charlie has his Tiga back and they are playing and wrestling again and never far apart. And last, but not least, Tori has found something new to obsess about. There is a bird's nest under the deck that now occupies her time.
It is nice to not have our lives consumed with puppies but I do miss them. It is a little strange to think that Tiga is no longer a Helping Paws breeding dog. As one of the foster homes pointed out to me, she has lived up to her name. Tiga in Indonesian means three and she has provided Helping Paws with three wonderful litters. She is now retired and will live out the rest of her days as my much loved buddy. I can't thank Helping Paws and Tiga enough for giving us this experience.