About Us


About An exceptional Organization

Founded by leading dog behavior expert and trainer Abby Hill

TESSD is the only non-profit organization in our area that offers psychiatric service dogs to teens and young adults. Abby is dedicated to raising the best possible exceptional sidekicks to empower our clients to finish their education and live an independent life like their peers. We are an inclusive organization welcoming all regardless of ethnicity, gender, or the sexual orientation they identify with. Our organization is unique with clients that are teens/young adults, but in many cases, it is their parent seeking a psychiatric service dog for them. Most times after all other therapeutic approaches have been unsuccessful.



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about us 3 service dogs in training

TESSD content and curriculum is evidence-based

We use positive methods to train dogs resulting in successful long-term outcomes of confident dogs that thrive in all settings. Our curriculum is based on best practices of Nationally recognized service dog programs, customized to meet the needs of our age population with psychiatric disabilities. TESSD continually assesses and evaluates our programs to meet the needs of our clients. Initially, modeled after established service dog organizations, we provided a 2-week training period where the handler and service dog meet, task train, and are released. Using qualitative data, we now require a 1-year commitment to continue therapy and attend weekly public access sessions to addresses the social isolation and needs of our clients.


About A COMMUNITY PROCESS
Founded in 2016, TESSD program brings together our community

As we work cooperatively to raise and train these exceptional animals. Working with our wonderful volunteers, TESSD raises each dog for the first year and a half of its life. During that time the dogs live with their puppy raisers that open their hearts and homes to help them become exceptional sidekicks. This is the most selfless act of volunteerism and the pulse of our program. [learn more…] Additionally, TESSD piloted an In-School Service Dog & Teen Advocate Program at Newtown High School which furthered community support and education. What are the three major benefits of this program? First, the puppy is socialized and trained continually. Second, a dog in the classroom promotes positive social interaction, increases concentration, and reduces stress and anxiety. Third, the students learn about the dog’s purpose and are educated about the needs of people struggling with mental illness. [learn more….]

We can also be found at

local schools, businesses, or at our center with youth groups and scout troops. TESSD is all about spreading awareness and transforming lives. Not only the lives of our clients and their families, but all of those in our community with proper education along with some puppy love and kisses! The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We depend on donations from our community to operate and continue helping those in need at a fraction of the cost. In total, adopting, raising, training and providing proper healthcare for these dogs for the first two years is approximately $32,000. Would you please help our mission with a contribution today? [learn more…]