Puppies are stars of the show at Kids & Canines program
From left, Nick, Noah and Nugget, 6-month-old English golden retrievers, were the honorees for at a recent puppy shower for the trainees in the Kids & Canine program. Photo from LENORA LAKE
By LENORA LAKE Special correspondent
Published: June 20, 2013
Updated: June 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM
NORTH TAMPA - If every dog has his day, three puppies had theirs recently when showered with love and gifts. Nick, Noah and Nugget, 6-month-old English golden retrievers, received toys, shampoo, treats and dry dog food in a recent Puppy Shower, given by the networking and philanthropy organization High Hopes in High Heels. The pups are trainees in the Dorothy Thomas School program, Kids & Canines, where at-risk youth train the dogs to be assistance dogs for persons with disabilities or autism. "We have to fund raise for all our dog expenses," said Carrie Burke, office manager for the program at the school at 3215 Nundy Road. "This (shower) is one of the ways the community groups can help."
In August the program begins its 16th year, and Nick, Noah and Nugget will continue the training they started when they were 8 weeks old. It takes 18 months or more to prepare a dog for a person in need who has applied for the dog. The cost is $3,500 for the dog training and a two-week course for the new owner and dog together. The shower, organized by High Hopes in High Heels member Andrea Cook, featured food, a cake, presents, games and scavenger hunt using a cell phone. The dogs were more interested in playing, getting attention and chewing on ice in the mid-day heat of a Lake Park pavilion. Cook said she thinks Kids & Canines in an "amazing" program and that the dogs change the lives of the people who get them. Kids & Canines was one of three charities receiving support this year from High Hopes in High Heels. The others were Alpha House and the Children's Cancer Center. The shower was the group's last event for the 2012-13 club year. "We will reconnect in fall and pick three new charities," said High Hopes founder Rachel Luis. For information about Kid & Canines, see www.kidsandcanines.org. For information about High Hopes in High Heels, see the organization's face book page or email to email@example.com.