Lisa Forgas is a long time South Fayette resident and library lover. Having previously volunteered at our library, Lisa now volunteers as a puppy raiser with Canine Companions*. Lisa and Dustin, a future service dog in training, recently visited Sensory Storytime, introducing our preschoolers to service dogs, demonstrating commands, and answering questions.
We recently sat down with Lisa to learn a little more about her (and Dustin!).
Tell us a little about Dustin and how you became involved with service dog training.
I have always valued volunteer work and regularly volunteered with a variety of different organizations over the years, such as Reading is Fundamental, South Hills Interfaith Movement, 412 Food Rescue, Cure JM Foundation, and numerous PTA programs (most notably Book Fair, of course!) when my children were attending the South Fayette School District. Most volunteer opportunities require a great deal of communication and due to a minor health issue prolonged speaking is somewhat painful. Working with a service dog seemed like an ideal alternative, and what an incredible way to help children and adults with disabilities.
Dustin is my second service dog in training. Dustin will train with me for sixteen months and then will enter professional training for six months. It is important that service dogs are properly socialized in addition to learning manners and basic commands. Dustin often visits the library as a way to become more comfortable in social settings.
What is your favorite thing about the library?
The library has been near and dear to me for over 25 years. I often visited South Fayette Township Library and Bridgeville Public Library (when it was still in the caboose!) with my children for storytime. Experiencing the library individually and with family, and fostering the love of reading is a wonderful gift. The library has so many opportunities and offers so much for people of all ages.
What do you think are the most important things the library does?
Honestly, just the fact that it is free. That is growing increasingly rare, and while trips to the bookstore are great, it can add up very quickly. The library gives everyone the same opportunity to open up the world and develop compassion. As we discover the stories that are out there we have a better understanding of one another.
What is your favorite book?
*Canine Companions provides service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities. We also provide facility dogs to professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice and educational settings. Since our founding in 1975, all dogs and all follow-up services are provided at no cost to our clients. To learn more about Canine Companions or to get involved visit us online at canine.org, or follow us on social media. (from: https://canine.org/about/who-we-are/)