Page 5 - MidWeek - June 7, 2023
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JUNE 7, 2023 MIDWEEK 5
   A Round Of ‘A-Paws’ For Valued Service Dog Program
“D By Susan Luehrs, founder and former program director of Hawai‘i Fi-Do Service Dogs
ear Hawai‘i Fi- overcoming reading, speech ited program on O‘ahu. We will be hosting a fund- Do, thank you and self-confidence issues. After 23 years of dedicat- raiser event on Oct. 23 at for bringing I first introduced therapy ed service, it’s time to step Hāna Koa Brewery in Ka-
 your dogs to our school. dogs to my special education down and “pass the leash” ka‘ako. The cost to attend is
“I had a great time with the dogs. I had a blast read- ing to them and having a fun time playing with them. I hope you bring them next year so other kids can have fun ...”
students at Kahuku High School and became the first Bergin College service dog certified trainer in Hawai‘i.
to our new program director, Kiley Esprecion.
$75 per person. During the event, attendees can enjoy live entertainment, a silent auction and much more.
This was part of a letter written by a student from Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani Middle School, where we had a six-week program for the kids to bond and interact with our service dogs.
In 2000, we established Hawai‘i Fi-Do Service Dogs, becoming the first Assistance Dog International (ADI) accredited program in our islands serving our veter- ans and people with disabil- ities, other than blindness.
What a run it has been! Since 1999, I have worked with dedicated staff, volun- teers, board members, and literally generations of lab- radors and labradoodles that have transformed the lives of hundreds of veterans, adults and youth with disabilities across the islands.
A Legacy Fund has also been established with the goal of raising $250,000 to send Esprecion to get spe- cialized service dog train- ing and to support our pro- grams.
Our service dogs serve as a calm and non-judgmental audience for kids who are
The program went on to become the first in Hawai‘i to get its service dogs into a dialysis center. Today, we remain the only ADI accred-
As we transition and move into a new chapter, we still need all the help from our supporters and the commu- nity.
To learn more and for in- formation on how to donate, visit our website hawaiifido. org or follow our organiza- tion on Instagram (@hawaii- fido) or on Facebook.
Susan Luehrs and new program director Kiley Esprecion address a group
of puppy-raisers and working teams at a recent monthly romp at Kunia Neighborhood Park. The social gathering is where raisers and teams can talk story and where their dogs can run and play off leash.
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