LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A Lexington family has been raising puppies for a non-profit organization for more than a decade, and last night, they welcomed a new furry friend into their home.
Ashby is an 8-week-old Golden Retriever and lab mix that’s on the road to becoming someone’s special companion.
CUTE ALERT: Ashby just got to Lexington last night – he is part of the Canine Companions for Independence organization. After two years of training, he will be partnered as an assistance dog for someone with a disability. @LEX18News pic.twitter.com/rPLeJorhW8
— Alexa Helwig (@AlexaHelwig) June 15, 2019
Debra Gleason and her family have volunteered to raise him for a year and a half.
“Our job as puppy raisers is just to do that socialization and those basic 30 commands to get the puppy ready for placement,” said Gleason.
Ashby was paired with the Gleasons through Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit that breeds, raises, and trains assistance dogs.They go through a lengthy training process and then are placed with kids, adults, and veterans with disabilities, all for free.
“My last dog was a skilled companion went with a little boy who is seven years old…paraplegic in a wheel chair. He will have my dog, Bell, and help him in the classroom and going to the hospital when he has to have medical care,” said Gleason.
People always ask her, “how can you take that dog and then give it up?”
“What I’ve said and many in our organization have said, is that somebody needs that dog more than I do. Exactly what happened with Bell. Somebody needed that dog more than I did, and Bell has changed his life forever,” said Gleason.
In a year and a half, Debra will hand off Ashby to a professional trainer for six more months.
The rewarding process culminates with the placement of him into a permanent home where he can enhance the life of someone who needs it.