For years, the Austin Dog Alliance has been helping children with autism and Asperger's, at-risk youth and the sick and elderly through the use of specially trained therapy dogs. Now, this unique group is ready to expand.
After six years of rescuing strays, training them to become therapy dogs and finding them "Forever Homes," Austin Dog Alliance is reaching out to the community to help it build its own Forever Home. On Sunday, April 22, Alliance Founder and Executive Director Debi Krakar announced the official start of the Austin Dog Alliance Capital Campaign at Travaasa Austin resort and spa and unveiled the architectural plans for its 7.1-acre facility to be located in Cedar Park.
The nonprofit Austin Dog Alliance is the only organization in Central Texas providing canine-assisted group social skills development programs for children with autism spectrum disorders. The Alliance also works with at-risk children through its Bow Wow Reading Dog program and provides handler/therapy dog teams to local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.
"With the increased demand for our services, we must have more space," says Krakar. "This new center will allow us to offer more autism and Asperger's social-skill classes, and even add veterinary technician vocational classes. We can offer more camps and at-risk youth programs, train more therapy dogs and increase our services in the community."
Plans for the Alliance's new site will include a 4,000 square-foot main building, including a Welcome Center and Dog Care/Education Center and a 6,000 square-foot dog training and retail center, as well as an agility field, off-leash dog park and memorial garden. Groundbreaking is scheduled for September 2012, with completion expected in early 2013. The new campus was designed by architects from O'Connell Robertson, a full-service architecture, engineering and interior design firm based in Austin.
"This will be far more than a dog center," Krakar adds. "This will be a center for the community, a place to learn and a home base for a variety of services for youth, seniors and everyone in between."
Companies and individuals wishing to contribute funds or in-kind donations are encouraged to visit the Austin Dog Alliance website, call (512) 335-7100 or come by the Alliance's current location at 12129 RR 620 North, Suite 401 in Northwest Austin.