Kroger, Milk-Bone® donate companion
Heather Hofmann has been confined to a wheelchair since she was 10 years old. She has Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, which makes many simple tasks very difficult.
Her mother, Pam Hofmann, said they had applied to several programs for a service or companion dog to assist Heather, but had been turned down. She was interviewed two years ago for the Canine Assistants program and recently learned that she will be matched with her dog next summer.
She will spend two weeks at a training camp at the program’s Georgia farm where her dog will be trained to meet her specific needs. Canine Assistants raises Golden Retrievers or Labradors on their farm. The dogs are at least 18 months old before they are matched with their companion. Heather’s companion will fetch and pick up items for her, open doors, turn lights on and off and help maneuver her wheelchair.
Hundreds are on waiting lists for a companion dog and demand far exceeds supply. The cost to train each dog is more than $20,000. Dogs are provided free to qualified recipients. Canine Assistants relies on corporate and personal donations.
Milk-Bone® and its retail partners have donated several hundred service dogs over the past 13 years. Kroger has been a retail partner for those 13 years, donating 52 dogs. Milk- Bone® and its partners will donate at least 50 service dogs this year, with Kroger partnering for 10 dogs over the next several months. You can donate to Canine Assistants at www.milkbone.com