The organization’s second autism assistance dog, Yoko, was recently placed with a family here in the Rogue Valley, and they’re hoping to continue placing these specially trained dogs with more local families who need them.
“The dogs have done phenomenal work and it’s been better than we ever could have imagined with our first two,” training director John Drach says, “and so we’re starting to push that a little bit further, we’ve got other applications coming in, but we’re going to keep it to the Rogue Valley for now until we get our feet underneath us a little more and then it’s gonna be Oregon and then we’ll go nationwide like we do with our hearing dogs.”
Meanwhile, the non-profit is looking to expand. They recently broke ground on what will soon be a new training facility with kennels large enough to house the bigger breeds used for their autism assistance dogs.
“It means we’ll be able to resuce even more dogs,” CEO Blake Matray says, “it means we’ll be able to have more dogs in training, and then at the end of the day that many more people’s lives will be changed for the better by dogs that come out of our training facilities.”
The hope is to start construction in spring. If you’d like to donate to their efforts or learn more about applying to be a part of a program, click HERE.
Executive Producer Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News weeknights at 5 and 6. Originally from the Bay Area, Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.
She came to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine. In 2017, her investigation on lead pipes in Medford’s water system was named Best News Series by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.
When Kristin is not sharing the news, she’s traveling, hunting down the best burrito, or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder; if you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you the story of how a California girl became a cheesehead.