Enriching Lives, Increasing Independence . . .for 20 years
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Special News from the DFA Board
Who is ready for some program expansion? We are!
Almost all of you know that since our 1991 incorporation as Dogs for Disabled, Dogs for Autism
took over as the primary focus simply because of the immense need--and because we knew we had the
ability to provide canine help for children with that disability. What we didn't know was how incredibly well
the two types of training experience--Dogs for Disabled and Dogs for Autism--would combine to succeed
far beyond our expectations.
October 2013 marked our 22nd corporate birthday. In that time, program dogs have been trained for and
succeeded in a far wider variety of jobs than we dreamed possible. Working graduates proudly providing
assistance to people with disabilities have been joined by their canine family members in quite a few
other jobs, including two other mobility assistance dog schools, eight guide dog schools, five police
departments, nine search and rescue groups--and an entire new classification of dogs working as tools
for professional clinical therapists. One part of that last category has become yet another program of its
own--yet still part of our own group: Hope Unleashed, a partnership with The Project Hope
All these varieties of working dogs have added much merit to the enormous value YOU have provided to
many recipients. Because, truly, this program is nothing but a collection of personal time and resources
from volunteers who understand the importance. However! Right there is the exact framework for the next
step: many more people need to understand that importance! Not only for all the reasons already
established, but for additional needs on the horizon.
In the last decade we've seen an overwhelming increase in the need for mobility service dogs to assist
military veterans. We know we have the ability--and believe we have the responsibility--to help with that
need. Our training program has a long-established track record of success in that venue, including
provision of dogs through the VA hospital system as far back as 1995; the precedent of being the first
program providing dogs funded through the South Carolina Family Support Funds and the SC HASCII
Waiver; and more recently (2010) placing mobility assistance dogs with the assistance of state
After seven years of focused effort, we are just now getting beyond the point where the
common response to the name Dogs for Autism is..."Who??" Back in the 90s, it took
probably the same length of time to gain that recognition for Dogs for Disabled.
Yet clearly not enough of the general public--and of potential new supporters--yet
understand the association of the two, and far fewer understand the scope of
impact from our dogs as described above. The time has come for that to change!
In the weeks ahead we are looking forward to sharing several important
announcements. But one of the most important is one that we want to share
with you right now--and is scheduled to be announced on WYFF tonight at 11:00.
The Board of Directors has decided on the important step of combining all of the
above programs under one umbrella name: Vested Partners.
The official change is already underway with the Secretary of State and will soon be reflected on our
website--let's make that websiteS!
None of the current program names are leaving. Dogs for Autism, Dogs for Disabled, Hope
Unleashed...they will all be divisions of the new overall program, Vested Partners. And the first major plan
of action that goes along with the new name is a special focus on providing mobility service dogs for
US military veterans. More details will be along about that project very soon on the websites and blog
(listed below), but for now we wanted you to know that we're launching an effort to associate the new
name: Vested Partners, with ALL of our current successes! Stayed tuned for further developments.
President of the Board of Directors
www.vestedpartners.org - New website coming soon!
vp-pawprint.blogspot.com - Watch here for updates!