Carolina Canines is a non-profit group, dedicated to helping people with disabilities achieve more independence. The group trains certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families. Stacey Sears is a foster parent for Luke the labradoodle. Luke has been living with Stacey for 8 months. “He'll be trained a year in September so he'll have at least another year and a half to go for training,” she said. “He'll go two years and then he'll have advanced training for six months." Luke will eventually be matched with an eligible recipient and placed free of charge. Since 1996, Carolina Canines has placed 34 service dogs. Rick Hairston, Carolina Canines CEO, explains why that number is not larger. "We have to rely on foster families. If you take a dog in you pay for all the expenses. You agree to keep the dog for 18 months to two years and then give it back to us and you agree to come to classes that we teach once a week. That's a huge commitment on our foster families. So it's not something everyone is able and willing to do. It takes a special person." They have therapy dogs that go into nursing homes, plus they have a PAWS program for after school reading, thus, the reason for their Power of Ten fundraiser. "It's very simple. All it takes is ten dollars from an individual, but yet the whole process can blossom. Over a hundred days we're shooting to reach $60,000," said Hairston. There is an application process to receive a service dog and a waiting list. For more information check out www.carolinacanines.org.
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