Foster families need for service dogs

A rescue group that trains service dogs for veterans says it’s in desperate need of foster families.  Coco’s Cupboard says with the pandemic, fewer families are volunteering to foster service dogs in training, while the need for them among veterans and people with medical challenges is greater than ever. 

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Suzanne Aaron of Coco’s Cupboard

Suzanne Aaron runs a rescue group called Coco’s Cupboard.  She has trained service dogs for years. Recently, she started her own service dog program called Tails of Hope.  It supplies dogs to veterans like Gail Johnston, who says her dog Sloan helps ease her PTSD symptoms.  

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Veteran Gail Johnston and her service dog Sloan

“If my leg is bouncing, she will put her paw on it to let me know that I need to calm down because I do it without thinking about it,” Johnston said.

But Aaron says among all rescue groups in Georgia, right now with the pandemic there is a shortage of foster families, and it’s even worse for service dog fostering.  

“Right now we have about 70 dogs and we are in need of about 20 foster families,” Aaron said.

Kim Bolan is a volunteer who fosters dogs before their service training.  She’s working with Kylo.

“He is learning to retrieve prescription medicines and even though he has no retriever in him, he is really good at it,” Bolan said.

Whitney Mattews is a volunteer and also has a service dog named Star Lord.  She says prospective service dogs need family time.

“They need to experience the hustle and bustle of a home,” she said.

Star Lord, a service dog

So they are desperately looking for foster families for these dogs, who will spend the rest of their lives as an important partner in someone's life.

“When you see the impact it has on the person’s life, it’s a game-changer,” Aaron said.

If you would like to foster a service dog, or any of the dogs at the rescue, or support them with a donation or an adoption, you can find Coco’s Cupboard online.

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