Baiba Baikovska
Member, Service Dog Teodors Association

On October 15 we celebrated our tenth anniversary. A lot or little? Some would say a lot, others little. We would say that during this time, we changed at least 15 lives and won’t judge whether that is a lot or a little, because, going forward, we haven’t time to judge. On this day we say thanks to:

  • potential service dog foster families, without whom dogs wouldn’t properly be raised to become someone’s second set of eyes, arms, legs;
  • trainers, who give 100% of themselves, their hearts, to teach dogs the necessary traits to work with their people;
  • volunteers and supporters, without whom the association’s work would be impossible;
  • the dogs, who give their entire lives to us.

In addition, we are happy for all the dog keepers and their guide dogs, who have completed the regular and first certification exam, in order for them to work together. We also mention the guide dogs who are no longer with us but will never be forgotten.

Most importantly, on this day we celebrate the love between people and their service dogs, where the person gains independence and the dog a mission. Our furry companions and assistants are gifts from God. Not for naught author Richard Rohr in his book “Eager to Love” writes that only someone who has never loved dogs would say that a dog lacks a soul.

Gunta Bite
Honorary member of Service Dog Association TEODORS

On October 15 Service Dog Association TEODORS celebrated its 10 th anniversary. Kristīne Līce, Legislation and International Law Advisor to the President of Latvia, was present and read the official congratulatory letter from President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs. The emotional letter gave hope for greater government funds in the future for this service dog movement.

The celebration continued with a review of accomplishments over the past10 years. It was supplemented by congratulations from the association’s supporters, partners and donors. Among them was our greatest donor – CABOT Latvia – whose grant provided training for one assistant dog. With these funds, association TEODORS trained guide dog Edijs, who right on this day passed the exam and became a full-fledged guide dog.

During the second part of the celebration, TEODORS thanked the puppy foster families, partners with therapy dogs, as well as other supporters, including our Finnish colleagues, especially Juha Herttuainen. In ten years, the association’s cynologist Zaiga Kļaviņa has trained 28 service dogs and 2 assistant dogs. Of these, 26 work in Latvia, but four in Finland, England, and Lithuania. This is a very good showing specially considering that in Latvia this happens only through donations and volunteer work.

In these past 10 years, the association has been productive, but there is much to do ahead in training dogs, obtaining donations, and educating Latvia’s society in service dog rights and their importance.

Members of the association had prepared gifts for the anniversary. Everyone gave well wishes and endurance continuing its work despite the lack of government funding for service dog preparation in Latvia.

Nearing closure of the celebration, two large tortes with 10 candles were brought into the hall. Association board members Zaiga Kļaviņa and Baiba Baikovska, after making their wishes, blew out the candles. May their wishes come true! This was a positive, energy-filled celebration, which will live on in our hearts. We all hope the the next 10 years will be easier with more accompishments.

Thanks to Service Dog Association TEODORS board and cynologist Zaiga, as well as everyone who supports the association with their donations.

Riga, 26.10.2023

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