GURNEE, Ill. – Residents, first responders and community organizations are invited to join state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, for a free workshop on service dog education and first-aid training from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 6 at the University Center at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. The all-day conference will include information on canine first aid, working dog classifications, fraudulent service dogs, employer rights and responsibilities, and first responder legal requirements and emergency intervention methods. 

“Service dogs are remarkable animals. They often play a crucial role in helping people with disabilities navigate everyday life,” Mason said. “Service dogs can provide vital assistance in a variety of ways, including helping manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, performing tasks for individuals with physical disabilities, monitoring blood sugar levels for diabetics and helping people who are blind safely cross busy intersections.”

Mason is set to lead a portion of the workshop explaining current and proposed legal protections for service dogs. The event will also be led by firefighter and paramedic Eric Roth, author of “K9 Medic” and expert in canine first aid and CPR. Additionally, the workshop will feature instruction from Lon Hodge and his service dog Gander. Hodge is a retired professor of psychology and former military officer who spreads awareness about service dogs, PTSD, invisible disabilities and veteran homelessness through his non-profit organization Operation Fetch. Gander was named the 2016 American Humane Service Dog Hero and received the 2014 American Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence. Since 2012, Hodge and Gander have traveled the country leading over 300 seminars, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities, and performing planned acts of community kindness for homeless veterans, first responders, and individuals affected by trauma. Hodge and Gander have also been the subject of two documentary films. Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy John Forlenza and his award-winning K-9 partner Dax will also lead part of the workshop with a demonstration and discussion of their work in law enforcement.

“It can be challenging for members of the public, employers and businesses to know the appropriate way to interact with a service dog, and many first responders aren’t trained to assist a person with a service dog, or a service dog itself, in a time of crisis,” Mason said. “By hosting this workshop, we’re increasing public understanding of service dogs and teaching critical first-aid skills that can save the lives of service dogs their owners. This is an incredible opportunity to learn from top experts and meet some true heroes—both human and canine.”

Rep. Joyce MasonRep. Joyce Mason

61st District

Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website

Springfield Office:
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8151
District Office:
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 485-9986