Anthem Service Dogs serve people with disabilities

Anthem Service Dogs, a non-profit organization based in Tulsa, Okla., was founded in 2018. The Anthem Service Dogs organization works closely with shelter organizations around Oklahoma. Before certification, the dogs are put through multiple tests to see how they react to toys, treats, loud noise, human touch, and other displays of distractions. After examination, the ones who did not meet the requirements of the Anthem Service Dogs program are put up for adoption while the dogs accepted into the program are placed with trainers. Volunteers prepare them to assist people with physical or mental disabilities. The service dogs are trained to assist with an individual’s daily tasks and to attend events.

Top Dog Ranch, a dog training facility in Broken Arrow, Okla., has donated its venue for training by the Anthem Service Dogs. To learn more about the organization and how people can be part of it, visit https://www.anthemservicedogs.org/about


The classes are held every Saturday and the sessions are run until the canines are tuckered out. The dogs in training are Taco, Audie, and Kaizer assisted by their handlers Kelly, Kate, and Deb. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Taco, on the left, is a two-year-old Labrador retriever assigned to handler Kelly and awaits an expected May graduation. He was a rescue dog from Lab Rescue. Before admittance, Taco completed a 30-day trial run designed to check if he met all requirements for the program. Kaizer and Audie, middle and right, are one-year-old Golden Doodles. They were donated to the program by their previous owner. Kaizer and Audie were also put through a 30-day trial run before being accepted to the program and assigned to their handlers (Deb and Kate). Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
During training, Taco practices pushing buttons such as an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant handicapped button. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Opening doors is one of the multiples lessons canines need to learn. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Audie is being trained to retrieve items such as a leash. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Together, (l-r) Kaizer, Taco, and Audie learn to restrain themselves from distractions like toys. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Kaizer learns to put away items such as pieces of cloth. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Taco practices pulling a wheelchair. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Audie trains to push a wheelchair. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.
Kaizer practices walking alongside individuals with crutches. Photo credited to Anna Fuhrmeister.