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Blog: Friday, March 1st, 2019

Raising PADS in our Abby Schools

After raising PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs) puppies for the past 10 years, in my classroom while teaching in Maple Ridge, I wanted to share this transformative experience with other educators in my role as a Principal in Abbotsford. Last spring, I approached the senior team with the idea of a partnership project so more students could benefit from the healing nature of accredited dogs in schools while simultaneously raising more future Service Dogs for PADS. Thanks to the collaborative and innovative spirit of #AbbySchools and PADS, we are the first and only district in British Columbia to have 6 puppies being raised and trained in our schools and we are hoping to expand this program next year!

The journey to raise future Service Dogs for PADS is a major commitment and extensive learning experience. Puppy raisers must attend a series of pre-training classes and undergo a home visit. Raisers are expected to attend weekly training classes and work on obedience and socialization skills daily.  The hardest and most painful part of raising a service dog is giving them back when they are ready to enter advanced training. It’s an incredible sacrifice, but also an incredible gift to the world.

The following Abby staff are raising dogs in their schools:

  • Nikki Born, Youth Care Worker at Aberdeen Elementary with PADS Khasi
  • Anderson Wiebe, Classroom Teacher at Abbotsford Traditional Middle with PADS Heloise
  • Amanda Supeene, Classroom Teacher at Clayburn Middle with PADS Watts
  • Lorra Bedard, Classroom Teacher at Chief Dan George Middle with PADS Fijord
  • Carolyn Simms & Sherri Schleppe, Classroom Teachers at King Traditional with PADS Melody
  • Lee Magis, Principal at Ten Broeck Elementary with PADS Posy
  • Shawna Cameron, Jocelyn Chowdhr & Janice MacKay – PADS Puppy Sitters

Nikki Born joined the Abby PADS pilot and works as a Youth Care Worker at Aberdeen Elementary. Nikki started raising PADS puppy Khasi in fall of 2018 and feels that raising Khasi at Aberdeen has been a great experience for so many students. In particular, Khasi has made a great impact on 2 very special students.

One of her non-verbal students is now attempting  to say words and commands to Khasi both verbally and on her iPad, helping her learn to use her iPad more efficiently to become more verbal. Khasi spends time with another student who struggles to regulate his body for a scheduled "calm Khasi break”. This student pets, brushes and even lays down with Khasi. Many students enjoy reading with Khasi and he has allowed Nikki to easily connect with students over their shared love of Khasi.

If you are an #AbbySchools staff member interested in volunteering to raise a PADS puppy during the 2nd year of our pilot, please join us for a mandatory orientation session on Friday, May 17th, 1:00 – 2:30 PM @ Ten Broeck Elementary, Multi-Purpose Room.  Please sign up: Orientation Sign-up

Lee Magis
Principal, Ten Broeck Elementary