|Robin with Demo Dog Bonsai
Central Point, OR – August, 19, 2013 – Robin Dickson, long-time President/CEO of Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. has told the Board of Directors that she is retiring and will not be renewing her contract at the end of this year.
Dickson joined Dogs for the Deaf in 1981 and has led the organization since 1986. Her vision, passion, business skills and dedication have taken Dogs for the Deaf from the small, “mom and pop” organization it was in 1986 and developed it into an internationally recognized Assistance Dog training facility with a solid financial foundation that places dogs throughout the United States.
Dogs for the Deaf Board Chair Marvin Rhodes, said, “Robin has been the organization’s guiding light. She has devoted her life to rescuing dogs and improving the lives of people with disabilities. In the process, she has built a unique bond with donors that goes beyond amazing.”
In addition, Dickson also is one of the founders of Assistance Dogs International, a coalition group of Assistance Dog training organizations worldwide. Assistance Dogs International sets the standards and guidelines for the Assistance Dog industry, developed certification tests for both trainers and dogs, and oversees a rigorous accreditation program for all member organizations. She has served on the Assistance Dogs International Board of Directors as President and Secretary and has chaired the committee that wrote the certification tests for trainers and dogs.
Dogs for the Deaf was started in 1977 as a non-profit organization by Dickson’s father, Roy Kabat, who worked with animals in movies and television for many years prior to moving to the Rogue Valley to semi-retire. The oldest Hearing Dog training center in the world, Kabat started Dogs for the Deaf on his property in the Applegate Valley. Dickson found property and developed the current facility in Sam’s Valley after his death.
Dogs for the Deaf has stayed true to its mission of rescuing dogs and training them to help people with disabilities. Now, in addition to training Hearing Dogs for people with hearing loss, Dogs for the Deaf is also training Autism Assistance Dogs for families with children on the autism spectrum and Program Assistance Dogs for professionals who work with people with disabilities. The Program Assistance Dogs accompany professionals to work and help in the treatment or education of their patients/students. There is no charge for these specially trained dogs other than a $50 application fee. Dogs for the Deaf is funded by private donations.
Dickson said the best things about her years leading Dogs for the Deaf were, “Getting to know the wonderful people we have placed dogs with and watch their lives miraculously improve, the dedicated and loving donors who have supported Dogs for the Deaf over the years, and watching countless numbers of unwanted dogs become highly trained professionals who go on to enhance and save lives.”
Rhodes said, “The Board is formulating plans to find Robin’s successor, and we anticipate she will be part of the Board’s recruitment team as we determine our future needs and, most likely, conduct a nation-wide search.”
Click HERE to read the Medford Mail Tribune article about Robin's retirement