Club offers dog care training to developmentally disabled

December 4, 2011 8:45:35 AM PST
A number of not-for-profit organizations serving people with disabilities have become entrepreneurial. Community Support Services has opened a unique dog business that is also giving people with developmental disabilities jobs skills and a career.

If you have dogs and love them, Chicago Canine Club is the place for you.

It's a full-service operation that is treating everyone with tender, loving care, including trainees and employees.

Located in Burr Ridge, the club opened in 2008.

President and CEO Diane Farina White said the club has developmentally disabled students who can take eight-week certified courses on dog care "and hopefully go get a job in the business."

In its third year, the business cares for more than 40 day-care dogs a day.

The club's canine care assistant training program is only open to people with developmental disabilities.

"They help us out with some of the cleaning around the building, taking care of the animals and their spaces in back," said manager Michael Tobolaski. "They clean that every day, take care of the dogs and make sure all the dogs have eaten food and taken their medicine. They also do some hands-on with the small dogs."

People in the program need to like dogs, Tobolaski said.

"They have to have some background on knowing dogs," he said. "That's part of (the) class that goes on here is a background of teaching them how to be around dogs, how to handle themselves, how to approach dogs and to be able to be in a facility and an area with the amount of dogs we have."

Chad Novak was in the training program and now is on staff with the canine club.

"I love it," he said. "The staff is nice and the dogs are nice. I go around, pick up the beds, pick up the dishes and ? clean their suites."

The long-term goal is to expand the business, make money to help support the agency and get more people with developmental disabilities trained so they can be employed in the community. The club takes referrals from schools and agencies.

To learn more about the Chicago Canine Club and the canine care assistant training program, visit www.chicagocanineclub.com or www.communitysupportservices.org


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