Daily Point of Light # 2281 Oct 31, 2002

The mission of Cheat Lake Animal Hospital is to provide quality medical care for companion animals while keeping in mind the sensitivity and the individuality of the pet along with the emotional needs of their clients. They strive to improve the hospital environment and build a professional workplace that encourages the understanding that each patient and client is special.

The veterinarians and staff of Cheat Lake Animal Hospital are a part of the Morgantown, West Virginia community, not only as a business, but also as public servants. They were instrumental in the development of a community program that serves at at-risk teens (The High School Assistance Dogs Program,) people with physical disabilities and the dogs simultaneously.

Cheat Lake Animal Hospital has provided free veterinary care for the Golden Rule Assistance Service Dogs that are in training. The business has purchased a bus to transport the dogs to the training site – the local Alternative Learning Center, and they have opened their office to the public twice a week to have people socialize the puppies so they can become assistants to people with disabilities.

The Veterinarians also rescued nine puppies from the local animal shelter. These dogs are now being trained as Assistance Dogs to help some others in need. This litter of puppies is housed at the doctor’s private residence so that they can be trained.

The owners and staff at the Cheat Lake Animal Hospital created a novel program idea that is now a reality for Morgantown. The High School Assistance Dogs Program engages youth in training the dogs. They develop a relationship with the animals and learn about responsibilities. The teens realize they may have some challenges, but they work to find solutions so they can overcome the same.

This program affects the youth, animals and the community at large. The youth affected by the hospital’s program develop a positive sense of purpose, experience unconditional love and learn through teaching. They realize their learning and care will result in the training of a dog to assist someone with a disability. Dogs have been saved from euthanasia to become contributors to the program and the community. Those in need receive help and are able to live better lives because of the Assistance Dog program.