Sep201099 Assistance Animals & Furry Friends Little Angels Service Dogs is a non-profit organisation that reaches across the United States partnering service dogs with the disabled. Following its well-deserved success in the Small Business Awards 2020 in being awarded the title of Leading Provider of Assistance Animals – USA & Client Service Excellence Award - San Diego, we got in touch with Josh Drew to find out more. Established in 2006, Little Angels Service Dogs lives and operates by the motto “changing lives one dog at a time”. While believing that dogs have an innate ability to alter an individual’s take on life both physically and mentally, its mission is to grab hold of that innate ability and teach dogs to use it in a way to empower and provide independence to our disabled recipients, who otherwise would be completely dependent on others. To begin, Josh provides a brief overview of the firm and offers more insight into the area it serves. “ LASD provides highly trained assistance animals to disabled children and adults. Located in San Diego and Bartlett, NH, we are able to service the entire country. Typically, dogs are trained under the seven categories of seizure alert and assistance, mobility assistance, autism assistance, psychiatric alert and assistance, veteran PTSD and hearing and diabetic alert in order to assist with hundreds of different disabilities. In Northern California within two large prisons, we also teach inmates to train service dogs. Currently, we are averaging 20-25 service dog placements per year, but moving forward our goal is to increase that”. Rather than placing a service dog based on age, the firm believe dogs have the ability to help people of all ages as Josh goes on to explain. “Regardless of their struggles, we can improve the independence and confidence of any person. Unlike most companies, we think dogs have the ability to help all ages, including infants. For example, we train skilled companion dogs to help someone that isn’t responsible enough to handle the dog. This has resulted in an incredible amount of relief for parents who have been unable to sleep at night due to what may happen. While many companies train dogs to assist with seizures, we on the other hand wish to get the upper hand on them by actively training our dogs to alert people to seizures in advance rather than responding once they happen”. Since its establishment Little Angels Service Dogs have used technology to great effect, particularly in relation to its client service efforts as Josh elaborates further. “Once a recipient signs their contract, they are then put in contact with a recipient services member that is available for daily contact up until the moment they get their dog. From there the recipients have the personal cell phone numbers of their trainer to call, text, or FaceTime at any moment for support. In addition, we have implemented weekly video calls with all of our fosters to encourage discussions about their individual struggles”. Although the initial stages of the pandemic resulted in its donations dropping drastically, the firm has since managed to recover financially as Josh explains further. “At one point our staff were cut to part time hours, however after securing a loan the entire company has since returned to work. Finally, Josh shares some of the firm’s future plans as we look ahead to 2021 and beyond. “Moving forward, we are very excited about some of the big changes that will hopefully be coming to our New Hampshire property. Currently, I am very active in grant writing and building relationships with potential donors. If the grants are received, we will be able to build a phenomenal breeding building on site. This breeding building would allow for three litters to be had at once while ensuring the safety and health of the puppies. In addition, it would also include a small bedroom attached so a trainer could sleep in the building overnight for the first two weeks of the puppies lives. Coming further down the pipeline, I am working on a proposal for an $800,000 state of the art facility that would include offices, training spaces, a “real-life” house set up for practicing in-home service dog tasks, a private training area to work with clients as well as some kennelling space”. Company: Little Angels Service Dogs Contact: Josh Drew Email: [email protected] Web: www.littleangelssd.org Address: 1088 US Route 302, Bartlett, NH 03812 Phone: 603-374-5156 In Northern California within two large prisons, we also teach inmates to train service dogs. Currently, we are averaging 20-25 service dog placements per year, but moving forward our goal is to increase that”.