COPE Service Dogs is unique amongst organizations that raise and train service dogs.
The true heart of our mission is to empower students to face and overcome their own challenges while training our service dogs alongside our service dog instructors. COPE’s signature program, “Canines in the Classroom” allows students to earn high school credits.
While the students are matched with COPE puppies and are taught how to train 90 Service Dog commands, more importantly the students learn essential literacy and workplace skills. We are passionate about the ideals of community engagement & volunteerism that build contributing citizens both human and canine alike.
Who we help: high school and elementary school students, seniors, communities, people with disabilities, patients.
How we help: we teach, we learn, we heal, we prepare, we empower, we embrace, we partner, we build contributing citizens both human and canine alike.
Some statistics on what COPE Service Dogs has achieved over the past 17 years:
- COPE’s Canines in the Classroom (CIC) in 9 secondary schools and 2 elementary schools
- Reading Buddy in 12 elementary schools
- COPE programs in 3 school boards – Simcoe Public, Simcoe Catholic and Peel Public
- Over 800 secondary student opportunities and 900 elementary students have benefitted directly from CIC and Reading Buddy
- Over 30 dogs permanently placed with people living with disabilities (Life Partners/Clients)
- Over 15 Community Canines (Facility and Trained Therapy Dogs) permanently placed
- Placement in 2017 of our first Facility Dog with Hospice Simcoe/Muskoka
- 80 Puppy Foster Volunteers extensively trained
- 40 Puppy Sitters trained
- Over 200 other volunteers have been active within COPE
- Therapy visit program in 7 Seniors Homes
COPE Service Dogs are either bred by COPE, or adopted into the program at a very young age. COPE Service Dogs are trained for the purpose of supporting clients with primarily mobility disabilities. Our service dogs are specifically trained to meet high standard behavioural expectations and have the ability to perform a variety of tasks to mitigate their clients disability.
For the most part, COPE has trained Golden Retrievers, but has also worked with Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles and Barbets. The breeding and training program reinforces desired traits in a service dog, including work ethic, low arousal, low prey drive and good problem solving skills.
Our future service dogs are supported financially through donations and sponsorship; emotionally through loving volunteer puppy raisers; and by students and instructors who train the dogs to develop the skills they will need to support their future client.
The community is part of this circle as well, helping to socialize each service dog-in-training as they are introduced to diverse social situations and the helping professions, who help prepare them for their career.
You can help too. One dog…40 lives touched – help us to unleash potential, please donate!!
COPE (Canine Opportunity, People Empowerment) is a registered charitable organization based in Barrie, Ontario (BN 896771417 RR0001).