Goodwill Graduates Ready To Go Out And Do Good

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The second class of fully-trained Goodwill assistance dogs is ready to take on the world. Topper, Murphy and Danny, Class of 2014, graduate on Friday, June 13, after which they join new families and begin new lives as working companions and forever friends to three area residents.   

Graduation from the Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy is at 5 p.m., Unum Atrium, West Building, Walnut Street. 

Mason Plott, of Ringgold and a Heritage Middle School student, will make Danny his long-awaited “forever friend.” Bliss Welch, of Harrison and the 2013 Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, will add Murphy to her family of three, which includes daughter Annabelle and husband Jeremy. Rich Burns of Cleveland, will go home with Topper.  

A two-week “training camp” for both dogs and recipients precedes the ceremony. Camp includes lectures and hands-on practice of basic commands, such as “down,” “free dog” and “thank you.” Outings to local malls, restaurants and movie theaters will follow in the second week. Camp is 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., June 2–13, at the GADA facilities, Chattanooga Goodwill Industries, 3500 Dodds Ave. 

The camp helps troubleshoot potential challenges and strengthens the bond of the canine/owner teams. The dogs have already learned more than 90 commands over the course of two years’ training, and they were carefully matched earlier this year with people from a growing list of assistance dog applicants.    

Recipients live within the 23-county service area of Chattanooga Goodwill Industries and receive their assistance dog at no cost to them. Funding for the $25,000 cost of raising and training each dog comes from Goodwill retail store revenue, financial gifts, fundraising events and donations. 

Graduation of a second class of fully-trained assistance dogs from a five-year-old program is a noteworthy feat, according to Director Ramona Nichols. “To be a relatively new program and to be able to fund and place six dogs as working dogs at this point is a huge accomplishment. My peers in the industry are amazed,” she said. 

During their training, GADA dogs provide extensive therapy and skill-building opportunities in the community. Dog training programs have been held at the Next Door in Chattanooga and with a veterans group. GADA students visit nursing homes and hospitals and participate in reading enhancement programs at two local public schools.  

For more information or to visit training camp, contact Ms. Nichols at 629-2501, ext. 2590, ramona.nichols@goodwillchatt.org  or Mary Lockhart, Goodwill Communications coordinator, 629-2501, ext. 2550, mary.lockhart@goodwillchatt.org.



Chattanooga Chamber Business Calendar May 28-June 4

WED/6.1- AM Networking at Cohutta Banking Company 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Cohutta Banking Company: 800 Market Street Held the first Wednesday of every month, AM Networking brings between 75-135 business people together for an hour of networking and refreshments. AM Networking this month will be sponsored and hosted by Cohutta Banking Company. To RSVP for this event, ... (click for more)

Success Ready: A Free Career Prep And Job Fair For Teens To Be Held June 2-3

First Things First presents Success Ready , a two-day networking event for high school aged teens who are looking for summer employment and beyond. “We’re in the high schools on a regular basis teaching relationship skills,” said Julie Baumgardner, president and CEO of First Things First. “We saw the need for a type of networking and career prep event for ... (click for more)

Attorney Says Lacie Stone, Advisor To Mayor Berke, Is Victim, Not Instigator

The attorney for advisor to Mayor Andy Berke Lacie Stone said she has been thrust into the spotlight, but said she is "the victim of an unprovoked attack" by her husband, Bobby Stone. Attorney John Cavett said it is ridiculous "to suggest that she was the perpetrator." Mr. Stone is facing charges of domestic assault and vandalism. Attorney Cavett said, "It is unfortunate ... (click for more)

Dr. Russell Dyer Chosen As Director Of Schools By Cleveland City School Board

The Cleveland City School board unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to offer the job of director of Schools to Dr. Russell Dyer. Dr. Dyer serves as the chief of staff of schools in Collierville, Tn.  If Dr. Dyer accepts the school board's contract, he will be paid $132,500 a year.  After contract negotiations, the board plans for Dr. Dyer to start at Cleveland City ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The American Dream, 2016

On this, the week of commencement, junior high graduations, and achievement at every level is displayed, we stand with hope and wonder as the next wave of promising Americans gives our nation the reason we pray for our next tomorrow. On Monday, as Vice President Joe Biden addressed 950 cadets who would become 2nd Lieutenants by the end of the day at the United States Military ... (click for more)