Brigadoon Service Dogs has four facets to our organization: the Youth Program and the Service Dog Program (which work closely together as the youth help us to train our amazing dogs), the Prison Program, and we now provide service dogs to the veterans through our Canines and Heroes for Independence program. In all cases, our goal is to provide a level of independence that would not be achievable without the dogs.
Service Dog Program
Brigadoon Service Dogs raises and trains service dogs for children and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities including, but not limited to:
any mobility issue
But, just as importantly, our dogs can provide a form of confidence and independence to someone in the community.
Currently, our wait-list for a dog is approximately 1-5 years. With the help of sponsorship and donations, we hope to be able to have more dogs in the program and reduce this wait time.
Bright Stars Reading Program at Whatcom Discovery Center
Brigadoon is proud to be a part of the Bright Stars Reading Program at Whatcom Discovery Center.
Every school year, Sophie (the standard poodle) accompanies school counselor Mary Allen to her work. Together, the two create a welcoming atmosphere for a variety of students to further practice reading skills.
Once a week, these students have the opportunity to read to Sophie. These sessions help the child focus on the books while reading to a non-judgmental audience. Combined with other reading efforts and programs in the school curriculum, Sophie and Mary Allen's work helps children become more comfortable with reading and more willing to read.
Brigadoon is honored to introduce a program for veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Veterans who are diagnosed with these conditions have a difficult time handling the stress and the memories of the event which affected their ability to perform day to day functions, interact normally with family and friends, and maintain gainful employment.
The name of this program is CHI – Canines and Heroes for Independence.
When teamed with a well-mannered service dog the veteran is able to receive a vitally important reality affirmation when the dog is summoned. Tactile stimulation can be very calming in stressful situations. In addition, the dog can be trained to nudge his partner to “snap” the veteran out of a frozen moment caused by anxiety, or wake him up from a nightmare or night terrors by turning on a light. In public situations, the veteran can give a cue for the dog to stand between himself and other people to reduce his anxiety.
Brigadoon has four Prison Programs:
The first is Cedar Creek Corrections Center located in Littlerock, WA. The dogs are housed with the inmates and are trained under the supervision of a Brigadoon trainer for basic good manners. Inmates who want to further their training skills are taught to train the dogs in advanced tasks. The inmates are responsible for the care of the dogs including grooming.
The second prison program is Stafford Creek Corrections Center located in Aberdeen, WA. In this program, we only work with incarcerated veterans. The focus is on raising and training service dogs for veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iran who are suffering from PTSD, TBI and/or mobility issues.
The third prison program is Washington Corrections Center located in Shelton, Washington.
The fourth prison program is Coyote Ridge Corrections Center located in Connell, WA.
Once a dog completes its training program at either Cedar Creek, Stafford Creek, Washington Corrections Center or Coyote Ridge, at approximately 12 months of age, it is returned to Brigadoon for final skills training and placement with an eligible client. This program benefits many – the animals who are trained to become service dogs, the client that the dog is placed with who gain confidence, independence and self-worth, and the offender who is given an opportunity to learn new skills that can lead to gainful employment on release.
For more information, read Stafford Creek's presentation on the program.