Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Handler of the Month

April's Handler of the Month goes to...

Jamie has been a wonderful asset to the Illini Service Dogs!  As we have gotten to know Jamie, we have learned what a wonderful trainer she is, how much work she puts into this, and how much patience she has.  Jamie has been on several different dog teams and has shown great enthusiasm with each dog.  We are so thankful that Jamie has been flexible and willing to adapt to new situations very comfortably and easily.  Jamie has advanced throughout her time in the Illini Service Dogs and has become a lead secondary trainer with a lot of experience.  Jamie always takes feedback and makes changes accordingly.  She is always in a positive mood and comes to every training and event ready to learn with a smile on her face.  Thank you Jamie for being so encouraging as both a student handler and an advocate for the disability culture.  We love seeing you so engaged and excited about training the dogs and we can't thank you enough for committing so much of your time to the Illini Service Dogs! Congratulations on this honor and we appreciate your continuing effort!
Jamie with her new BFF, Busey

Jamie at a fundraising event with Busey and Busey's primary handler

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Handler of the Month

March's Handler of the Month goes to...

We are happy to announce that our March Handler of the Month goes to Mary! As a new member, Mary has taken it upon herself to make herself known in our program. She makes sure to attend every training, fundraising event, presentation, and more.  She has also offered to help us with anything that she can, such as coming up with fundraising opportunities and getting more people involved in our events.  Not only does Mary come to everything Illini Service Dog related, but she comes with a smile on her face and an energy that's contagious! We so appreciate the good attitude! Also, Mary has come to every available training between our dogs and their potential placements, which shows that she wants to learn more and understands the end goal of our program.  So, as well as loving all the dogs, Mary is really making the disability culture connection.  She has made the effort to inform her sorority about the Illini Service Dogs, and it shows that she wants to educate as much as possible.  We are so thankful to you Mary and are so glad that you are a part of our program.  We have already seen your growth in the few months that you have been involved in ISD and we are excited for the future. We see your dedication and commitment and want you to know our appreciation!

Mary with Grainger at a Pet the Pup event

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Handler of the Month

February's Handler of the Month goes to...

This month we have chosen Art as our handler of the month! As always, this is an honor that is awarded to the student handler who has gone above and beyond in their call of duty.  Art has personally stepped up and been a big asset to our program.  He has always been a dedicated member of our program, but just recently has taken on a bigger role.  In this role, Art is required to keep constant communication with team members and the administrative board, and he has done an amazing job.  Art has shown that he is fully capable of taking on more responsibility, and he is truly appreciated among the club.  Art is constantly asking questions to learn more and is willing to apply himself to be a better trainer.  We want to thank Art for being a committed member of this club for so long, and we can see the growth that you have made as an individual. It is so rewarding to see you work well with the dogs and people too! Thanks for everything you have done, whether it is being at all the fundraising events or coming to every training, we definitely see your dedication. Keep up the good work, Art!

Art giving some love to some of our graduated service dogs

Art at one of the events for the Illini Service Dogs
Art with other Team Kirby members at Kirby's graduation

Art at another event for the Illini Service Dogs

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Handlers of the Month

January's Handlers of the Month 
...a special shout out to all our trainers!

As we begin a new year, the Illini Service Dogs would like to take the opportunity to thank every member of this program.  A program like this takes a lot of commitment, time, money, and effort to keep things running smoothly.  Without our wonderful members, this would not be possible.  From our administrative board to our newest members and everyone in between, we would like to say thank you. Thank you for volunteering yourself to make a difference and change people's lives for the better.  It takes a special person to be able to not only work well with the dogs, but with all the people involved in this program as well.  It is such a rewarding experience to be able to see these dogs transform into service dogs, but it is also very challenging and takes a lot of patience and consistency among all.  Our members go above and beyond every day to help make this program run.  Whether it is being a primary trainer, helping to fundraise, or dealing with the finances, our members do it all.  We are so proud of everything that has been achieved through the years that Illini Service Dogs has been running, and we are so excited to see what 2014 will bring!

Some of our members at our summer training session.

Some of our members receiving the 1867 Society grant.

Some of our members, past and present, at a training at U of I.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Handler of the Month

December's Handler of the Month goes to...

This month, Brenna was chosen as handler of the month because of her constant willingness to go above and beyond for the program.  Brenna makes herself available whenever we need her to help out. She is Blue's head secondary, which means she has made more of a commitment to taking Blue whenever the primary is gone or needs extra help.  Brenna has excelled in showing her ability to train Blue and help him progress in his journey to becoming a service dog.  She has helped advance his skills, such as lights, nudge, and more.  Not only does she offer to take Blue whenever she has time, but she has also been super flexible and willing to take the other dogs as well.  Brenna has offered her talent in helping out with training and assisting the training leader however possible.  Her dedication truly shows, but it is especially shown through her attempts to become more involved and play a bigger role in the program.  Brenna is a natural when it comes to dog training, and that is seen by the relationship that has developed between her and Blue.  Illini Service Dogs is so lucky to have Brenna as a part of the program and we can't thank you enough Brenna! Keep up the awesome attitude and good work!

Blue adores his Brenna!
Two peas in a pod!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Handler of the Month

November's Handler of the Month goes to...

Ashley has really stepped up this year and been a big asset to the Illini Service Dogs.  She has proven her commitment by accepting the role as a head secondary.  She is always willing to watch Willy whenever she can, and she has gone above and beyond in taking care of him.  She willingly forfeited a free weekend to watch Willy when the primary was out of town.  Ashley actually lives with Willard's primary handler and recently accepted a team change in order to allow for Willy's smooth transition into their apartment.  This alone just shows that she is a team player and really has the dogs' interests at heart.  Ashley is super flexible with her schedule and is willing to dedicate as much time as possible to help further the training of Willy.  She has also helped out with Scout when needed, and even made a trip out to Peoria for an event with all the dogs.  We cannot thank Ashley enough for all that she has done for Willard and the program.  We realize that it isn't always easy, but your commitment truly shows!

Ashley giving Willy some love

Ashley with her BFF Scout on the way to an event

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Handler of the Month

October's Handler of the Month goes to...

Beth has gone above and beyond for our program ever since she first joined.  Beth is extremely dedicated to advancing Willy in his training, and has been a great asset to Team Willy ever since day one! Beth also makes an effort to be at every training session on Sunday and every extra fundraising event that we host.  She knows what it takes to not only be a great trainer, but a great advocate for our program as well.  Beth not only will take Willy whenever asked, but she has also made herself available to help out the other primaries as well by taking Grainger or the other dogs whenever she is needed.  She is someone that we can rely on, even with random tasks like picking up our flyers for our cookie day! Beth also has helped out within the club by assisting with some of the social events that we put on to get to know our new members.  She has been super welcoming to our new members! We know the amount of effort you exert to better our program and we truly appreciate and acknowledge everything you do for the Illini Service Dogs, Beth! Great job and keep up the awesome work!

Beth with Grainger at Tri the Illini
Beth with Becky and Illi at Smooch a Pooch

Beth made an effort to come to the summer trainings held in Lisle!