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Susquehanna Services Dogs Program Hosts International SPIRIT Conference of Assistance Dogs International

(Harrisburg-October 7,2004) Nancy Fierer, Director of Susquehanna Services Dogs(SSD) a program of Keystone Children & Family Services, announces the opening of the International SPIRIT Conference of Assistance Dogs International to be hosted by SSD the weekend of October 10-13 at Camp Hebron, located in Halifax. "This is a marvelous honor for our program", stated Ms Fierer," Of the ten certified program throughout the world, SSD is the newest to be certified. It is our opportunity to share the outstanding quality of our program, our staff expertise and the dedication of our volunteers."

Sixty-five attendees from twenty-four programs from around the world will be in attendance. The International Spirit Conference is focused on the training issues involved in working with individuals who receive service dogs to assist them with their daily living skills due to physical disability, balance disorder or hearing loss.

Conference sessions will include presentations about the challenges that can be encountered by individuals receiving and living with service dogs, the expectations of the people using the dogs to enhance their lives and the transfer process during which individuals are partnered with their new companion.

A brief discussion of canine clearances for breeding and also about working dogs will be held.

The conference stresses group participation. Consequently, each program is encouraged to bring a service dog and to come prepared to their ideas, printed materials and videos to share with the entire group.

As an added skill Susquehanna Service Dogs will provide a seminar in clicker training techniques.

The SPRIT Conference program begins with a dinner and tour of the Susquehanna Service Dog kennels on Sunday evening, October 10 from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.
Monday October 11th will be held at Camp Hebron, in Halifax
9:00am -11:45am - The matching of the service dog with the individual
1:15pm - 3:00pm - Specific problem solving and training issues of the service dog before placement with the person they will be supporting
3:15pm - 4:30pm - free time
4:30pm - 5:30pm - Canine clearance discussions with examples
7:00pm to Clicker Challenge with the dog brought by each program participating or working with one of SSD dogs, for fun!
Tuesday October 12th
9:00am-11:45am - The transfer period-training with the dog and the person receiving services
1:15pm -4:00pm - Practice with SSD dog recipients-"mock match" with conference dogs, work period and then question and answer period with individuals who are using service dogs
Wednesday October 13th
Clicker training seminar at SSD Kennels, 10:30am -5:00pm

For information concerning Assistance Dogs International visit the web site at www.adionline.org

For information concerning Susquehanna Service Dogs visit the web site at Susquehanna Service Dogs

or contact Ann Moffitt at 717-232-7509 ext. 133 or at amoffitt @ keystonehumanservices.org

or SSD Kennels at 717-599-5920, 555 Le Sentier Lane, Harrisburg, take Fishing Creek Valley Road, Rt 443, continue for about five miles to street sign for Le Sentier Lane , Turn right here and continue .6 miles you will cross two speed bumps and then turn right at a large stone mail box as you go up the hill turn left at the second gravel drive.

Susquehanna Service Dogs Program began 11 years ago, since then they have placed over one hundred service dogs throughout Central Pennsylvania and beyond. SSD is partially funded through the United Way of the Capital Region.

Directions to Camp Hebron: Interstate 81 to Rt.322 West to 225 North Halifax exit, through Dauphin and over Peter's Mountain. At the bottom of the mountain, turn right onto Camp Hebron Road. Camp entrance is three miles on right side of the road.

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