Established in 1997, the nonprofit organization selects dogs, trains them and then places them with disabled people in the community. The goals of the CHIP program are to facilitate a committed relationship between dog and recipient that fosters increased independence for a disabled person, and provides community education that allows for disabled people and their dogs to be fully accepted and integrated into society.
“CHIP’s philosophy and mission is to provide ongoing specialized services to any individual that is in need of additional training and support so that each recipient and service dog works harmoniously together as a team,” said founder Brenda Mosley.
In keeping with this, the program recently has expanded its services to include rescuing, training and placing therapy and service dogs with disabled people in need of assistance; helping people who wish to train their own dog to perform some service-dog skills; distributing a service dog educational activity book that depicts the important roles of service dogs; providing public demonstrations to promote awareness of service dogs; and assisting people who received a dog from another group.
People interested in receiving a service dog must complete an application. Once the application is approved, a trainer will schedule an in-home interview with the recipient.
Screening and training are essential to match the recipient and the service dog to ensure a successful team.
Recipient and dog are matched according to the person’s needs and the dog’s capabilities to assist them. Although it costs an average of $5,000 to $6,500 to train and place a dog with a disabled person, the CHIP Program charges recipients on average $400 for their service dog.
“The final price of the dog may vary,” said Mosley. “It depends on the specific training needed to meet the different physical needs of each individual as well as equipment necessary. Some individuals require certain skills that take longer to teach a dog. In addition, some individuals need special equipment to ensure that they can work safely with their dog.”
The service dogs are trained to do many tasks, such as picking up a dropped item, opening a door, pulling a wheelchair, turning lights on and off, helping a person walk and get up if they fall, among many other skills.
Service dogs also provide security, loyalty and companionship.
CHIPs Making it fun to come home!
WHO: Canines Helping Independent People
WHAT: Trains and places service dogs with disabled people.
BOARD MEMBERS: Sandra Acell of North Canton, president; Kara Santelle, North Canton, vice president; Dr. Heidi Watters of Canton, secretary; Kathy Dryden of Canton, treasurer; Ali Rufo of Canton, magistrate; and Julie Herman of Canton, recipient.
PROCEEDS: CHIP is dedicated to ensuring that the majority of the money raised to support the organization goes directly to the programs it offers. It is solely funded by proceeds collected by grants from community organizations, such as Sisters of Charity of Canton, The Austin-Bailey Foundation, The Community Foundation of Greater Massillon,The Fred Silk Foundation, and The Stark Community Foundation, along with many others. Also the dogs are supported by products donated by companies such as: Vedco (medication), Fort Dodge (vaccines), Nylabone (toys), Nurto Dog Food, and many others.
DONATIONS: Send to Canines Helping Independent People, 2322 44th St. NW, Canton OH 44720.