It is important for people to understand why CDK exists as an independent organization, rather than part of a training organization.
As an independent organization, CDK has credibility that is important when helping a family to determine if an service dog is right for their child and, if so, which training organization to apply to. CDK is able to talk about all the options a family has: the best age to apply for a dog, what things a dog could do to increase the child’s independence, and how this new expanded independence would work within the family unit.
It is important that CDK is not a mouthpiece for one training organization. It is important that CDK is able to make recommendations that are truly independent of training programs because parents need all the facts. They need to understand all the pros and cons offered by different training organizations so they can select the best one for their child. In this way, CDK can act in the best interest of the child and not the best interest of the training organization.
A good comparison is that CDK is like a guidance counselor helping students to evaluate many schools rather than a recruiter pulling students to one school. In addition CDK is able to influence the training organizations to recognize children as viable candidates for service dogs.
CDK also provides free educational programs to schools and students who would not otherwise be able to learn about service dogs and their role in public places. These programs aim to create a foundation for individuals using service dogs to extend their independence fully in malls, restaurants, and other public spaces. CDK works diligently to educate the public and thereby tear down any barriers that may exist for individuals with service dogs.
Some examples of families who have received this independent advice are as follows:
It is the hope of CDK that examples like these convey the valuable role this organization plays in the community, and why it is critical that CDK remains a strong, growing, and independent organization.