Please visit a video done by Renee Jones Schneider and displayed at Star Tribune. 

Several women at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee have been living with and training service dogs since 2004.
you can view the Video page 

 Thank you Renee, nicely done!


DEFINITION OF A SERVICE DOG – according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990) a dog that is considered a “service dog” if it has been “individually trained to do the work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”

Service Dogs are guaranteed legal access to all places of public accommodation, modes of transportation, recreation and other places to which the public is invited.

Sunshine Service Dogs, Our mission is to enhance the lives of disabled persons with a sense of freedom, security, and independence, both at home and in public through the assistance of a service dog. We are dedicated to training and placing service dogs with recipients to make successful partnerships, which benefit both individuals and communities. We also contribute to communities through therapy dogs; and by assisting authorities in finding people who are lost or overdue, as well as in detection of narcotics, evidence, and cadaver - both water (drown victims) and on land through the services of the search and rescue dogs.


Hope reading to Sue            


Mobility Dogs are trained to assist people with retrieving items, help with getting up and down from chairs and bed, balance with walking and stairs, transfers, pulling wheelchairs, assisting with light switches, doors, and when needed, they wear a backpack to carry items while on outings. They allow people to be more independent both at home and in public, not depending on other people to do simple tasks for them.

Maggie along wheel chair
with Cindy & Anita

Sensitive Detection Dogs give people a sense of security and freedom. Detection dogs which allows people to be at home or out in public and lets them know if they may be going to have a problem before they know and allows them to take care of themselves and get to a place to do so, before the problem worsens. Sensitive detection dogs are able to detect the onset of seizures. As for the relationship of their companionship and their detecting abilities, words aren’t enough!

Lori oversee's Max assisting 
Mary up from a chair.

Hearing Dogs give people security in a world of silence. They let people know when someone is at the door, phone is ringing, fire alarms, retrieve items that are dropped, when someone is calling their name, letting them know of cars or other motor vehicle coming from behind, babies crying, morning alarm and get them up. Hearing dogs offer security in a silent world.


Emotional Support Dogs give people a sense of security at home and in public. People who are in need of Emotional Support Dogs don’t feel comfortable in public and sometimes not even in their own home. The security and companionship of an Emotional Support Dog allows them to be able to function in public and at home again. Dogs also assist with autism and each situation is evaluated as to how a dog can assist.


   Service dog "Comet" with Jack

Comet assists with the struggles Jack has with autism on a daily basis. Allowing Jack to feel more comfortable in public places, giving him a sense of security. As well as giving him a best friend.


Whether a mobility dog, sensitive detection dog, emotional support dog, or a hearing dog, they all offer people security, a sense of freedom and independence both at home and in public. As for the relationship of their companion, words aren’t enough!

Cole assisting Kelly with taking shirt off

Therapy Dogs visit the elderly as well as participate in activities with kids in after school programs, showing off their tricks and running relay races with the kids in control with assistance from their handler. They aid in healing by stimulating physical activity, enhancing memory, and increasing cooperation. Sunshine Service Dogs has teamed up with local libraries to create a time for children to read to trained Therapy Dogs and their human handlers. Studies show that children’s reading skills and motivation are enhanced when they read to a friendly canine partner. The dogs don’t judge or criticize readers; they‘re just happy to listen to a story.  Therapy Dogs are also very useful in school settings. We have trained and certified Therapy Dogs in schools assisting teachers and school psychologists assisting with many aspects of teaching, motivating, calming ( as with kids with emotional issues and autism), stimulating physical activity, enhancing memory, increasing cooperation, or however the handler feels the Therapy Dog will benefit the children.


Women with dogs at MCF-Shakopee

We are pleased to join the efforts of MCF (Minnesota Correctional Facility) in Shakopee, MN and Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc. in training service dogs. The cooperation of all the community at MCF (Staff and offenders) to train service dogs will dramatically change the lives of those that service dogs will be placed with, along with their families and communities. The hard work and energy that the offender/handlers put into training these service dogs, under the direction of Lori Peper-Rucks, Training Director of Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc. and the MCF staff, will soon turn these young dogs into working service dogs.  The cooperation of other offenders in the institution, resemble the future community the service dogs will soon be living and working in, this very important. The part the institutional community plays in training is by the everyday distractions of a community, and by respecting the service dogs and their handlers.

We know some of the offenders and people in the public have questions as to how and why these dogs are trained to do the things they do. The reason is they need to be very comfortable and well behaved in home and the community, so they can perform the tasks they are trained to do, to assist someone with their daily tasks, making their lives more independent, secure, and they have a sense of freedom. I always tell all our volunteers that I wish everyone could be there when I place a service dog with it’s new owner and they are so excited for their new partner and for the help these dogs give them, changing their lives dramatically.

The Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc., Training Director who works with MCF handlers is Lori, a professional that has been training dogs since 1975. She finds great joy in her gift of training dogs. Dogs have been useful since the beginning; used for hunting, protection, herding, and companionship, so it is natural we use these highly intelligent animals for our benefit. A Service Dog is trained to adapt its lifestyle to offer assistance to individuals with disabilities. Service Dogs are a reasonably new concept; we are still learning what they are capable of, in helping people with disabilities.

With working with the women at the MCF in Shakopee, it has been an tremendous experience for me, Lori, to see many of the women turning their lives around, taking the opportunity of furthering their education or getting their GED, learning trades, parenting classes, taking drug and alcohol education, within the facilities programs. Having the Sunshine Service Dog program in the facility since September of 2004, the women have trained dogs for Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs. After interviewing the women as to how the service dog program has benefited MCF in Shakopee, is it has given the women an opportunity to restore to the public some of what they have taken away. The dogs make a more relaxed atmosphere within the facility, and have taught the women better communication, goal setting, setting boundaries, leadership, are more confident in everything else they set out to do. The comment was made to Lori that “the classes they have at MCF are very helpful and you can get educated, but the service dog program teaches things you can’t learn from a book”. These are skills they will need to be able to succeed, when the women come back into our communities. We are pleased and proud to have the MCF in Shakopee, MN to team up with Sunshine Service Dogs, Inc. in this outreach program.




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“..ask the animals and they will teach you and they will tell you.”

Job 12:10


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Sunshine Service Dogs

2019 - 100th St.

Luck, WI 54853