Austin Dog Alliance owner Debi Kraker
Owner Debi Krakar started Austin Dog Alliance after taking part in a German Shepard Rescue Program and certifying one of her dogs in Pet Therapy. She then worked diligently for four months trying to convince schools to let her test out her innovative dog programs.
After one school finally obliged, her dream spread like wildfire. Before long, she knew it was time to venture into opening the non-profit business to share her programs — with four kids and five dogs of her own for inspiration.
What They Do
If you or your children are in need of some cuddly companionship... look no further than Austin Dog Alliance. They offer a wide variety of programs ranging from specialty events such as dog treat cooking classes to Autism summer camps. Krakar says that Austin Dog Alliance’s goal is to develop programs that incorporate dogs in order to improve peoples’ lives.
Austin Dog Alliance has a total of 85 certified therapy teams which visit hospitals, schools, libraries and nursing homes. In addition, they have a program called Bow Wow Reading Dogs, which works in conjunction with schools. Bow Wow Reading Dogs provides animals to schools, so that students learning to read are able to read to the dogs. Krakar says this can take the pressure off of the kids and puts them at ease, unlike reading out loud in a classroom setting.
Another unique quality of Austin Dog Alliance is their Social Skills group class, which is available to children from elementary grade level to high school. Through the innovative use of dogs, kids are able to express themselves in a safe social context before having to face some of the harsh, clique-ish school realities. They also build empathy skills by learning how to read the dogs’ emotions and comparing it to humans’ emotions. For example, by viewing how a dog would react when their behavior strays from the norm they are able to determine how a person may act in a similar context.
If you’re looking to adopt, Austin Dog Alliance has a specialized program that focuses on well-rounded dogs that will do well in homes with children. This correlates with their Special Dogs for Special Needs program, in which all dogs are taught basic commands before being placed in a home with a special needs child or adult. Both of these programs require community volunteers to foster the dogs prior to their adoption.
All of the rescue dogs brought to Austin Dog Alliance for adoption are from local shelters.
Goals for the Next Year
“Everyone from the community has already been so generous to us,” says Krakar, adding: “we are hoping to receive more donations for the upcoming year.”
Krakar also says that Austin Dog Alliance plans to hire more people to meet the needs of the business and continue to settle in to their new location.
Company Name: Austin Dog Alliance
Address: 1321 W. New Hope Dr, Cedar Park 78613
Business Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Hours may vary depending on class schedules)
Owner: Debi Krakar