Whidbey News-Times


Anonymous donor helps dog group

By NATHAN WHALEN Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
January 21, 2013 · Updated 3:45 PM

Summit Assist Dogs has provided help for children and adults alike since its founding in 2000. The organization recently received a donation that will help pay for a new facility. / Photo courtesy of Summit Assistance Dogs

An anonymous person donated a property on North Whidbey to an organization that trains assistance dogs. That money will go to paying for a new facility that will better meet the organization’s needs.

Summit Assistance Dogs sold a view-front property near Polnell Point that netted approximately $80,000. That money will go toward a new building.

Erik Mann, development associate for the Anacortes based Summit Assistance Dogs, said a Whidbey Island resident, who didn’t want to be identified, decided to donate the property, which could be sold as a fundraiser.

He said the organization needs a new facility, but a capital campaign hasn’t been undertaken yet.

“This actually kind of kicked it off,” Mann said of the donation.

Summit Assistance Dogs was founded in 2000 on Guemes Island and has placed nine dogs in 2012 and 63 dogs to date. The organization trains dogs to help people with multiple disabilities. The dogs often assist wheelchair-bound people to assist with their mobility. They help with item retrieval, can flick a light switch or can even retrieve an emergency phone should the need arise.

Dogs can provide hearing assistance and they have helped students in schools and patients in hospitals. Mann noted that Oak Harbor Middle School used therapy dogs to help struggling students.

Summit’s dogs are also helping veterans with PTSD. Mann said the dogs help provide a personal buffer so a veteran can feel more secure.

Summit’s current location lacks the kennels to house the dogs being trained. Those dogs currently live with their trainers.

Leaders are looking for a new spot either on North Whidbey Island, the Port of Skagit County, Burlington and rural parts of Skagit County. Mann said a location hasn’t been finalized yet and they have to work through zoning issues.

He said they don’t want to stray too far away from their current Anacortes location because they don’t want to lose any of their volunteer base.

For more information about Summit Assistance Dogs, go to www.summitdogs.org.


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