December 7, 2023

College PARK – In 2016, Susan Lechtanski commenced volunteering as a pup sitter with Roar for A lot more — the Penn Condition chapter of Susquehanna Service Puppies (SSD).

“They say these canines change life,” she explained. “The factor they really don’t tell you is the to start with everyday living they change is your have.”

Six a long time afterwards, on Nov. 2, Susquehanna Services Puppies honored Lechtanski with the 2022 Nancy and Robert Fierer Spirit of Volunteerism Award for her commitment and broad range of contributions to the group.

“I experience so honored,” Lechtanski claimed. “All the preceding award winners are my mentors. I’m really honored that these previous award winners are my mentors and pals. And now I’m one of them.”

Lechtanski performs whole-time as a challenge manager for Auxiliary and Organization Providers at Penn Condition University and estimates that she volunteers an ordinary of 20 several hours for every 7 days with Susquehanna Service Puppies.

“We get paid in dog like,” she reported. “I’m actually passionate about this software, conference persons and observing how these canine transformed their lives, offering them independence.”

In addition to dog sitting and socialization, Lechtanski transports puppies and maintains Roar for More’s social media. She does most of the dwelling visits with potential puppy dog raisers and sitters in the Centre Location and brings puppies with her to see how the family members pet feels about living with a puppy dog.

Roar for Extra has puppy raisers in Centre County and past, together with Williamsport, Jersey Shore and Huntingdon. Some are neighborhood customers and some are higher education pupils.

“We’re always on the lookout for puppy dog raisers and sitters in Centre Area,” she mentioned. “We never ever have ample.”

Lechtanski adopted SSD Kelp and qualified him to be an ambassador canine immediately after he was unable to entire superior training because of to kennel stress.

“He has to be with his people,” she said.

When she does community displays, SSD Kelp accompanies her and demonstrates how he can do duties to support

a individual with a disability, which include opening a doorway, having medication, retrieving an item, alerting his human being to a sound, and likely to get help. He joins her on property visits to see how the spouse and children interacts with a pet dog.

“Kelp also displays raisers and puppies how to go on and off an elevator properly,” she mentioned.

Lechtanski assists Dr. Nancy Dreschel with educating the 3 levels of puppy instruction lessons, which focus on the click and take care of schooling strategy, employing a handheld clicker to mark the habits and gratifying it with a take care of. Dreschel, a Penn State professor of animal science, founded Roar for Additional in August 2014, with encouragement from her pupils. Due to the fact then, 100 puppies have appear via the plan.

In the newbie course, 8- to 10-7 days-aged puppies learn the essentials, such as sit, continue to be and free leash going for walks. The 2nd course teaches the 6- to12-thirty day period-aged puppies skills this kind of as targeting and shaping that will be utilized to enable them master far more elaborate techniques. The 3rd course for 12- to 18-monthold puppies builds on what they’ve learned and brings together two abilities to produce a new talent.

Leshtanski reported at somewhere around 18 months, puppies begin innovative instruction at the Susquehanna Service Canine key coaching center in Grantville, in the vicinity of Hershey.

“During this time, the qualified trainers appraise their expertise, discover what helps make the canine content, and ascertain an proper job route for each pet,” she claimed.

“During state-of-the-art coaching, the pet dogs satisfy possible associates. As soon as a tentative match is made, the trainers additional build the abilities desired for that companion.

“At somewhere around 24 months previous, the puppies go through group instruction with their new partner. In the course of these 3 months, the new lover learns how to use their new pet, and the pet dog learns how to help their new associate ideal,” she said. “We practice the canine to in good shape the human being.”

She stated puppy dog raisers can meet the puppy’s new lover and keep in contact with them, on the partner’s conditions. Susquehanna Provider Puppies matches puppies with candidates in just a 4-hour radius of Harrisburg and supplies help during the performing lifetime of the dog.

Lechtanski stated SDD is accredited via ADI — Aid Pet dogs Global — and is a 501(c)

(3) nonprofit organization.

The professional trainers attend yearly conferences and regularly update their information. SSD is in a breeding cooperative with other service pet dog corporations to breed for the very best features whilst maintaining genetic range. SSD works with Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and mixes of these breeds.

“It expenditures $30,000 to fund an assistance pet from birth by their working everyday living,” Lechtanski reported. “What we’re asking of companions, the charge is nominal.”

After the pet dogs retire, they are adopted into families.

Susquehanna Service Canine was started 1993 by Nancy and Robert Fierer, who started in their household in close proximity to Grantville. In 2014, SSD moved to its latest assets, a 55-acre converted horse farm, and in Might 2022, the new schooling center was completed.

Susquehanna Provider Canine and Roar for Far more welcome volunteers and donations to enable train present-day and upcoming assistance pet dogs. For much more information and facts, simply call (717) 599-5920 or visit