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Puppy power: Couple pedaling cross-country for service dogs

Published On: Mar 03 2013 03:34:43 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 13 2013 11:20:34 AM CDT
OREGON, Wis. -

Lisa and Jeff Arndt run Custom Canines Service Dog Academy in Oregon, a non-profit organization that trains service dogs and gives them to families with children who have autism.

Children like 8-year-old Lazlo have benefited greatly from the Arndts' work.

For Lazlo, it would be hard to imagine his life without his service dog Juno, who came to the family from Custom Canines.

"He's very proud of Juno and likes to tell people about her," said Lazlo's mom Elizabeth. "She sleeps with him every night and just really helps him by being there at night. It helps him get a good night of sleep. It's very reassuring for him to know she's there."

Lazlo has autism and his mom Elizabeth says Juno is a great help to him in social situations.

Custom Canines volunteers like Jeff and Lisa Arndt raise and train the dogs.

To raise money for the organization they're taking on another task--- biking cross country. They're calling the journey "Pedal 4 Paws."

"We're going from San Diego, California, to St. Augustine, Florida The ride will last about 52 days," said Jeff Arndt. "Unfortunately, we can't bring a dog with us."

The Arndts have been volunteering for 6 years training dogs. They're hoping to get sponsors to donate money for every mile of their 2,900 mile trip.

"The satisfaction for us comes from just hearing from those families and knowing what a difference they're making," said Lisa Arndt.

Juno has been with Lazlo for a little over a year and has bonded with his entire family. Lazlo's mom said other organizations would have charged them as much as $13,000 for a dog like Juno.

"Jeff and Lisa are just very kind and generous people. It's amazing they're going on this bike ride to help so many families in the area," said Elizabeth.

The Arndt's 52-day "Pedal 4 Paws" journey begins Saturday, Mar. 9.

All of the money they raise will go toward Custom Canines.

For information on how to help or to check out their travel blog, go here.

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