The York Jr. Women’s Club met Tuesday, May 28 at the Kilgore Library. Sue Curran was the featured speaker and shared information about her Canine Partner, Arazi.

Sue told us that service companions, must wear their identification badges and be certified under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The dog can be any breed, but must be individually trained to do work and perform tasks for a person with an ADA disability.

Sue has been in a wheelchair for several years and served on the founding committee for York Public Transportation (then called “Big Wheels”). She asked what a dog could do for her when she got her first canine companion from Washington, Kansas. In Kansas, the Lion’s Club monetarily supports KSDS, Inc. canine service companions, so her first dog’s fee was much less than other service dog programs. Sue told us, today, a trained service companion can cost $40,000 or more.

She found out a service dog can pull a wheel chair, support a transfer, pick up items she drops, or retrieve items she needs, assist with opening and closing doors and a whole lot of other mobility assistance.

Arazi is Sue’s third service dog and she selected him as a puppy from a litter at K9s 4 Mobility, Inc., in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and named him, Arazi, after a beautiful racehorse she’d seen win a race. She served as his puppy sponsor and was notified when Arazi was trained and ready for placement. When Arazi arrived in York, the trainer stayed with Sue for several days to make sure there were no behavior issues or any other canine problems for Sue to handle.

Sue said canine companions usually work for about 10 years. Arazi is 6.5 years old. Sue has an electric wheelchair now which she said is much better physically for a dog then the pulling.

Sue also provides play dates for Arazi. He belongs to a group that generally meets weekly and he thoroughly enjoys it. He’s learned a lot of socialization skills from his other dog playmates and it’s been a good experience for Arazi and Sue and a positive for their relationship.

Members were reminded to continue saving empty printer cartridges for donation.

The next time the group will meet will be for fun, friendship, and fundraising, at the York Farmers Market, Thursday, June 27th, 4-7 pm, at the Kilgore Library, selling produce, plants, and/or baked goods. We offer a wide variety with something for everyone to enjoy. If you can’t attend, but would like to contribute or donate, please call Rebecca Hasty, 402-646-9202.

Rebecca Hasty, Recording Secretary

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