Service Dog SSD Bridge Opens Doors

Jun 29, 2015 9:30 AM ET

Service dogs figuratively open doors for people, assisting them to participate fully in the community with much more independence. Sometimes, like SSD Bridge, service dogs literally open doors for their partners.

Susquehanna Service Dogs recently placed eight service dogs with their new partners. Each dog was individually trained based on their partner’s needs. The dogs spent their first 18 months with their volunteer puppy raisers, who taught them basic skills and good house manners. Then they entered advanced training, where Susquehanna Service Dogs’ professional trainers begin training the dogs to perform more complex tasks.

During this time in advanced training, the dogs are matched with individuals at an event called “Meet the Dogs.” Not only does the person choose the dog, but the dog chooses the person.

Once the dog’s individualized training is complete, the person and the dog attend Team Training, where they learn how to work together as a service dog team. The bonds between person and dog that begin to grow during Team Training continue to blossom the longer they work together.

And the doors that open both literally and figuratively lead to new independence and a fuller, more meaningful life.

For more information about Susquehanna Service Dogs, visit