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2021 Annual Report

Updated: Feb 12

As we round the corner into the new year, we look back on all of the many trials and triumphs of 2021. We are happy to release to you our Annual Report with a grateful heart for the opportunity to do this important work. The pandemic has presented organizations worldwide with unique challenges. As a nonprofit focused on helping people, Medical Mutts has certainly not been exempt from those challenges yet we have adapted and evolved in a way that has not seen us deviate from our mission a single inch. For that we are tremendously proud. We could have not done it without the unrelenting support of our followers, donors, board of directors, and staff. The passion for this work is palpable and inspires us every day. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your kindness.

Our vision of “saving dogs, helping people, promoting kindness” continues to ring true. After passing our initial temperament testing, our dogs come from shelters all over for a second chance as a service dog. Only 1 in 3 of our dogs will advance through all the training and reach graduation. Once in our program, the dogs go through our science-based curriculum before being placed with our clients. For 6-8 months, they are trained full-time by our dedicated team and learn over 30 different behaviors before being placed on Service Dog Teams with their human. For our “career change dogs” who do not pass all the training, they are fully vetted and instead placed into loving homes as pets. In 2021, we placed 23 dogs on Service Dog teams with clients.

Through 3 distinct programs we help people nationwide gain access to the support and companionship of a highly trained service dog. Our flagship program-Rescue to Service dog, which was outlined above, continues to rescue homeless dogs, training them for service for conditions such as diabetes, seizure, anxiety, and more. We also offer “Board & Train” services for clients who may already have a dog they are bonded to but would like them to be trained for service tasks and public access. These dogs live alongside our rescues and receive the same high-quality training and enrichment as our program dogs. Our Board & Train programs saw 9 dogs graduate in 2021. Additionally, we offer a “Train your own dog” program which allows people nationwide to learn to train their own dogs in-person and virtually, over the course of a year in either a group or private setting. Our Train your own dog program saw 8 dogs graduate in 2021. We are extremely proud of all of our programs and continue to work to make the assistance only a service dog can provide accessible to more people who need it.

Medical Mutts is a service dog training organization that strives to work in the best interest of both the people and the dogs: helping dogs that have been abandoned and improving the lives of people faced with difficult challenges, by building a trusting and loving relationship between them, through training methods based on positive reinforcement. The safest, most effective training methods don’t involve force, pain or fear and are based on proven scientific principles. Our trainers are experts at helping the dogs develop confidence, trust and a desire to work through positive reinforcement. We primarily use clicker training as a way to teach the dog all the required behaviors. We teach our clients how to develop a strong and positive relationship with their service dog based on clear communication, mutual trust, and understanding of dog psychology, realistic expectations and lots and lots of rewards.

We proudly ended 2021 with a full kennel of dogs in training and unprecedented public interest in our work. We experienced growth across all programs and continued to position ourselves as the leaders in Service Dog training by participating in research and hosting training events. As we look ahead to 2022, we look forward to saving even more dogs, helping more people, and continuing to promote kindness.

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