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One of the environments that we are honored to design for animals, and their people, is service dog campuses.  These are the places where these very special dogs are born, where they are trained, cared for, and where they are matched with the humans who will gain so much independence from their partnership.

Our work with service dog organizations centers around the design of the spaces where the dogs live and train.  These include the kennel housing, the veterinary hospital, and the whelping center.

The whelping center is the first stop for these special pups. It is dedicated to momma dogs and their newborns. The biohazard risks for puppies are high due to their still developing immune systems, so these buildings are designed to help staff manage that risk effectively to see these puppies weaned and ready to move on to their early training foster homes. This involves careful design of HVAC systems and air changes and specifying the right finishes so they can be easily and effectively cleaned. We also look at all the spaces we design from a dog’s eye view to ensure that they are as low stress as possible.

Once the puppies are born in the whelping area, they move with their moms to the neonatal zone where they all live together in specially designed housing until the puppies are weaned.

Then it’s on to the puppy zone where their training begins!  Here, while still protecting their developing immune systems, the puppies are introduced to new environments and experiences in preparation for the extraordinary lives they will lead.

When they are ready, the puppies go to live in special foster homes, where they learn to live in a home environment and continue to experience different settings and situations.

When they return to campus and move into the training facility, life gets busy.  This training facility is where the dogs will learn specific skills, such as opening refrigerator doors, pressing buttons for elevators, and even helping identify and warn their future owners about low-hanging branches. These spaces are designed to stage the many props necessary for this work, and to be flexible to enable the trainers to practice multiple different skills with different dogs.

But this time in their lives isn’t all work, play time is important too! We design play yards with enrichments to provide the dogs with the work/life balance they deserve. We also design the training center with housing for the dogs that allows them to have stress-free, restful nights in their kennels.

It can take time and training for the right dog to be paired with their new human partner. This work is also done on the campus, where dog and human work together until they are ready to greet the world as a team.

Not all pups make it through the program.  It depends on the organization’s goals and each dog’s abilities. For those dogs that don’t qualify, we have designed on-campus adoption buildings, so that they have the right environment to protect their physical and behavioral health until they find their forever homes and go on to help their new families in a different way.

Animal Arts has worked with many service dog organizations, like Canine Companions and Liberty Dogs, to help make dreams come true for people in need. The facilities required to make these dreams a reality come in many shapes and sizes depending on each organization’s mission.  We listen closely to our clients to provide the best facilities possible for the caretakers and trainers, the dogs, and the people who they will train with, and eventually share their lives.

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