CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- Beginning Wednesday, one Southern Oregon non-profit organization will go by "Dogs For Better Lives." That's because the organization is serving more people in more ways.
Blake Matray, CEO, said the name-change comes as the business began training its dogs for helping kids on the autism spectrum, hearing impairment and program assistance.
"Special education classes, courtrooms, doctor offices, group homes, they serve a number of clients in a given day as opposed to just one client," Matray said.
Matray said the list does not stop there. Within the last year and a half, it has trained three autism assistance dogs for local families.
The organization searches far and wide to rescue the dogs and bring them to its training facility.
"We've gone as far as Colorado and Montana looking for dogs, so we pretty much cover, at various points in time, the western United States looking for dogs," Matray said.
Four to six months later, the dogs are ready to move in with a family. Matray said the person who trains a dog is also the one to bring them to move in with a family.
"That's really big for our clients that they meet the person who actually trains their dog," Matray said.
The Rogue River Rooster Sams is one of the organization's donors. A group of members toured the facility Wednesday.
Rosemary Wheeler, President of Rogue River Rooster Sams, said it is rewarding to see the non-profit growing so much and knowing their donations helped make it happen.
"It makes all of us feel really great to know that there are people that are being helped that otherwise would not be helped," Wheeler said.
Matray said he wants people to know they won't have to pay a fortune to have an assistance dog.
"Before the dog gets placed with a client we ask for a $500 good faith deposit to show that they are interested and committed to the program," Matray said.
Families get that money back after a year. Matray said a family's total would come to $50, which is the cost of the application fee. He said that is thanks to the organization's many donors.
The organization is also building a second training facility, which will be completed by April 2018. It will allow for 40 additional kennels, which will bring the total number of dogs trained up to 62.