Adapt Mobility donated medical equipment, such as this wheelchair, to the service dog and canine studies management program at Medicine Hat College, that will be used to train the service dogs in the program.–PHOTO COURTESY MEDICINE HAT COLLEGE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Adapt Mobility recently donated more than $7,500 worth of medical equipment – wheelchairs, walkers and power scooters – to the service dog and canine studies management program at Medicine Hat College. The equipment will be used to train and socialize service dogs in training.

Marissa Jordan, a co-program co-ordinator and instructor, said, “It was a pretty incredible donation. They (the dogs) are roughly about nine months now and we are able to use the medical equipment to teach the dogs how to walk beside them in a safe, controlled manner before we move out into the community.”

Training in a controlled environment allows both dogs and students to learn how to navigate around the equipment so no paws get run over and bad experiences are avoided.

“It has certainly enhanced the program for training dogs,” said Jordan. “But it’s also been beneficial to the students in that it builds empathy for their future clients.”

Students learn what it is like to be responsible for a service dog when their hands are busy or what some of the day-to-day difficulties might be when one is dependent on medical equipment.

As a new program, it’s important to Jordan to build connections in the community, and donations like this helps them do that.

“We are super excited to be able to build the community engagement so people can learn how to interact with service dogs and training in our community,” she said.

The program is 18 months long. The students had about six weeks of learning before the puppies arrived last October, and the program allows them to get hands-on experience raising and training a service dog. In December, the dogs return to the service dog organization that provided them and students in the program move into a work-integrated learning experience in January 2024.

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 04, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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