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Kye & Coops Mom
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In the time of Thanksgiving, want to Thank a special friend, mentor and his wonderful wife for their lifelong help to our shelter animals.

Years ago Steve (showed Labs & Bischons) started giving time at his local shelter and noticed so many really unique dogs put down. Really bothered him, but didn't know how to "save" them. About 10 yrs ago he was sitting with a friend, who is a trainer for search & rescue and mentioned the shelter situation to him. Said the idea hit him like a brick, went home and got on the phone to state agencies. Found that many in Homeland Security were always looking for trained dogs, but on a very limited budget. Steve felt in his heart that he saw many trainable dogs (ones too hyper for the average family) lost every week at shelters and if only shelter people could be trained to test and identify these special dogs, he knew he could line up trainers to work with them and present them to these state agencies. So he started with the small shelter he already donated time to. He was right in that many trainers stepped forwards and trained the dog for free. He set up a series of tests that anyone could do and started giving free classes to interested shelters to train their people around the country.

The years have passed, Steve is semi-retired, but the students of the GAP program (Gifted Animal Program) have taken this so far and certified trained GAP people are all over the states now. Many of the rescue shelter dogs now serve in the war, help boarder our states, and two are in Alaska right now as scent dogs looking for a endangered species by searching their fecal remains, some are trained to contain livestock at border facilities, the jobs are endless. They police Airports and even have a tiny Chia. at the airport in El Paso (scent). These dogs would have been put to death in normal shelters, but due to the training of their shelter personnel to test each dog, who now train others, it is spreading all over the states and dogs are being saved with a job to do and families who love them. Many shelters proudly have there GAP certificate on their wall.

I am so proud of Steve and his dreams of helping, Thankful to all the trainers over the US who are giving their time freely and to the shelters who send their employees to the class so they can identify and test these amazing dogs, alert the GAP program and let them find a job for them to do. I am proud to have known many of these wonderful people and met many of these amazing dogs. The whole project makes me humble.

In a time where things sometimes look so bleak for our animal population, I want everyone to know of one single man and his dream to help the hopeless & doomed animals in shelters and how it has blossomed and grown.



The Gifted Animal Program is a wonderful thing and I am so proud to have been touched by it. Special man with a special dream.
 

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Super Moderator Leader
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49,645 Posts
This is amazing, thank you for posting this, it's fantastic! It goes to show that all creatures have a purpose on this earth.
 

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7,753 Posts
This is fantastic. Please thank Steve and his wife for me too.
 

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Premium Member
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18,411 Posts
Truely a great program, and a wonderful man. I have seen GAP in action in my local shelters, I'm glad to hear the story about how it started.
 
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