It was an afternoon of tail-wagging, puppy kisses and some serious doggy business.
Five puppies-in-training from Summit Assistance Dogs bounced out of the van for some on-the-job training at Aegis of Kirkland on Dec. 30. The puppies, three to six months old, are in the beginning stages of their two year program to become mobility assistance dogs, and the seniors at Aegis of Kirkland were more than happy to help the pups learn to behave.
The puppies work on basic skills, specifically trying not to get distracted from coming when their name’s called, crating and loose leash walking.
“Aegis Living is a wonderful place to help the Summit dogs learn to respond to cues outside of the classroom,” said Lindy Langum, the Summit Assistance Dog trainer. “The Aegis community offers real-world distractions without being too overwhelming of an environment.”
Aegis of Kirkland has become a regular stop in the training program, which also includes the Monroe Correctional Complex.
“Our residents absolutely love having the Summit dogs in the community,” said Aegis of Kirkland Life Enrichment Director, Laura Jenks. “We know pets have a positive influence on all of us, so we welcome residents and their pets, we even have a community house dog. These puppies provide a wonderful afternoon of pure joy, and it’s proven that these animals help reduce stress and anxiety.”
At the end of the training session, there was plenty of downtime for the seniors and the puppies to have some fun.
Aegis of Kirkland regularly raises money to support Summit Assistance Dogs and this visit, residents also made crate blankets for their new four-legged friends as a parting gift. Summit Assistance Dogs is one of the leading providers of assistance dogs in Washington State.