We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Stern and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandra, how does your business help the community?
Imagine a world full of PAWSabilities! Individuals with limitations, illnesses, or disabilities can benefit and thrive with the use of a service dog. These highly trained canine professionals make it possible for their handlers to remain independent and have an active and fulfilling life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I founded Assistance Canines of Texas when I discovered three things 1. The unbelievable cost for a trained “program” dog. 2. A 3+ years waiting list. 3. That in most programs they retain ownership of the dog, and have rules that must be followed. So, more or less, after spending up to $90,000 you are “leasing” your partner. The very same partner that you depend on for your independence. The partner that is there for 24 hours, 7 days a week, for the remainder of their entire lifetime.
Handler trained canines, under the supervision of a professional service dog trainer can reduce the cost, in some cases by almost half. This is not to say it is inexpensive, it still costs thousands of dollars and a massive number of training hours.
My vision for Assistance Canines of Texas is to provide a self-training program with the oversight of service dog professionals. Volunteers to make the entire program work. Monetary donations, and professional trainers, veterinarians, and others reducing the cost of their services. Discounted equipment cost and donated or discounted care supplies.
I want to make independence PAWSable for individuals who need a service dog. I want their lives to be filled with PAWSabilities!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am certain my best friend came with her dog. First we would go to Pet Ranch in Kingwood for anything she forgot, and get our pups a great treat. Then off to the dog park! We’ll finish the day at Bill’s Cafe, a dog friendly place to eat. The next day We’ll all go to Buffalo Bayou Park and eat at Backstreet Cafe. The next day we’ll take it easy and go to Starbucks for coffee, a mid day treat and pupalattes. The next day to Stewart Beach in Galveston. Of course we will ride the Bolivar Ferry. Then to Murdochs for fun stuff you really do not need. Woody’s (pet friendly) for a bite to eat and head on home. On the last day, Dunkin Donuts drive through for tasty delights and pup cups! Then to the Conservatory Spa-Kingwood for a “Day of Renewal”, then back to Starbucks. The next morning my friend and her pup load up for home.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Cathy Dorchuck, as a member of the Board, she is tireless. As a professional trainer, she is amazing. As a member of her community, she is giving. As a friend, she is unmeasurable.
Yelp: https://www.youtube.com/assistancecanines oftexas
Other: TikTok: pawsabilities.tx Snapchat: pawsabilities.tx Community Page on Facebook: PAWSabilities In ACTion