Our History

1987

4-H dog project members from Cloud, Riley, and Washington counties began serving as puppy raisers for organizations in Ohio and California. These 4-H members discovered very few assistance dog placements were made in the Midwest and they wanted to see dogs placed in Kansas and the surrounding states to serve the citizens of this region.

KSDS began as Kansas Specialty Dog Service and was incorporated as a non-profit in January 1990 with the help of $500,000 in start-up funding from the State of Kansas Department of Rehabilitation Services and additional support from individual donors.

1991

The Canine Housing Unit was built. Also in 1991, the first service class graduated and in 1992, the first guide class graduated. KSDS was the first in the nation to provide both guide and service dogs from within the same facilty.

1994

The puppy addition to the Canine Housing Unit was constructed.

1996

KSDS implemented prison programs at Topeka Correctional Facility and Norton Correctional Facility, first with inmates being puppy raisers and then later with inmates also providing intermediate training and skills for the dogs.

1997

The Training Center was constructed at KSDS with funding from private sources.

1999

The movie, “More than Puppy Love” was made describing KSDS and the assistance dog program with some location filming at KSDS and around Washington. In 2004, it become the first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” movie.

2001

The name was changed from Kansas Specialty Dog Service to KSDS, Inc. because KSDS was placing assistance dogs throughout the United States.

2003

KSDS became an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International, the organization which leads the industry in setting the high standards of assistance dog training.

2004

Americorps and volunteers renovated an adjacent house for the Administration Building.

2007

KSDS constructed an accessible housing duplex with fully contained and private studio apartments.

2011

KSDS announces the building of three more duplexes with their completion being done in time for the Spring class of 2012.

2014

KSDS placed its 500th assistance dog team. KSDS also started renovation of the original KSDS office/training builiding into an additional training facility with more accessible bathrooms and a sizeable kitchen area.