A person who is blind may use a guide dog; someone who is deaf may have a hearing dog.
But did you know that dogs can help folks with other types of disabilities?
Raising awareness of these types of service dogs is the aim of "Imagine Independence," a fundraiser on Thursday, April 26, for Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Utah is home to 19 human/canine graduate teams, three of whom live in the Ogden and Brigham City area and will attend the fundraiser, says event chairwoman Linda Weiskopf.
Guest speaker for the 5:30 p.m. dinner and silent auction will be Frank McMillan, a staff member at Best Friends Animal Society and the author of "Unlocking the Animal Mind" (Rodale, 2004).
Canine Companions for Independence trains dogs for those with physical disabilities, cognitive and developmental disabilities, and hearing loss. The organization also has a new program that places dogs with injured veterans.
Weiskopf, a Pleasant View puppy raiser, says many folks who would qualify for a service dog aren't aware of what the animals can do or that they are provided free of charge to recipients.
"People don't even know they're available to them," she says.
Because there is a two-year waiting period for a person to receive a dog, Weiskopf says the program also needs more puppy raisers. A raiser volunteers to care for a puppy for 14 to 16 months, teaching the dog basic commands and socializing him or her in public places.
The puppy is then returned to Canine Companions for Independence for its formal training. The total cost of breeding, training and providing follow-up services for one service dog is estimated at $50,000.
Weiskopf and her husband, David, are now raising their sixth puppy, a Labrador retriever/golden retriever cross named Code. They are among the 28 puppy raisers in Utah.
"Imagine Independence" takes place at Ogden's Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave. Tickets are $50; reservations are required and may be made by calling 801-389-5245 or visiting www.cci.org/imagineindependence. Donations may also be submitted on the website.
More information about applying to receive a dog or becoming a puppy raiser is available from Wasatch Champions, the Utah chapter of Canine Companions for Independence, at http://wasatchchampions.blogspot.com/.