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Many businesses are unaware of the federal and state laws about service dogs.
USA TODAY

If you live in the Hopewell Junction area and like dogs then you might qualify as a volunteer for BluePath Service Dogs.

Volunteers within driving distance of the nonprofit’s headquarters in Hopewell Junction are needed to care for future BluePath service dogs, which provide safety, companionship and opportunities for independence for children and families touched by autism, according to the agency.

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Volunteers care for young adult dogs for six to eight months while the dogs complete BluePath’s training program. Foster families will be required to transport the dogs to and from Hopewell Junction three to four times each week for training. No previous experience is necessary — “just a love of dogs and a desire to make a difference in the world,” the agency said.

BluePath’s service dogs help to reduce parents’ safety concerns and help children lead fuller lives.

“Our family’s autism service dog has literally saved my son’s life,” Tricia Zarro, autism mom and BluePath Board chairwoman, said in the statement. “She has made my son’s journey full of more joy, more safety and more social experiences than I could have ever imagined.”

According to the Autism Society, more than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, with a 119.4 percent increase in diagnoses from 2000 (1 in 150) to today (1 in 68).

“We are infinitely grateful for the volunteers who raise our puppies and foster our young adult dogs,” said BluePath President and Chief Executive Officer Jody Sandler. “We would be unable to fulfill our mission without their generous support.” 

Visit www.bluepathservicedogs.org/apply-to-foster for more information about fostering a BluePath dog.

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