Courtesy photo
Austin Dog Alliance
http://www.austindogalliance.org/

Since 2006, Austin Dog Alliance has been improving the lives of families and individuals through therapeutic programs which incorporate the powerful connection between dogs and humans. Its key programs include "Hounds for Heroes," in which service dogs are trained not only to be unobtrusive in public but also to mitigate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and or depression, and "Bow Wow Reading Dogs," which teaches reading skills to at-risk readers by providing highly trained dogs and their handlers to local elementary schools.

Austin Dog Alliance is a volunteer-driven organization, and volunteers take on a range of tasks from being out in the community with their therapy dog partners to rescuing dogs from shelters for placement as service dogs to helping Austin Dog Alliance maintain its ranch. Volunteers are asked to first attend a volunteer orientation, which requires a one-time fee of $35 that covers a background check, T-shirt, and insurance. For more information, head here.

Austin Dog Alliance's Hounds for Heroes 5K and Paws Festival is a dog and family-friendly event that includes a 5K race, dog costume contest, a  "Central Texas Dogs Got Talent" contest, dog sport demonstrations, and carnival games throughout the day. Proceeds help provide Bow Wow Reading Dogs in local schools for struggling readers and Hounds for Heroes service dogs for veterans and First Responders challenged by the mental and physical effects of their service.