Roy Kabat's Dogs for the Deaf
Monday June 20, 2005
By Dawna Curler
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
Life's pathway is full of twists. We may start in one direction, but there's no telling where we'll end up-and how many lives we might touch along the way. This was true for Roy Kabat (CAB-it) who began as an animal handler and ended up helping the hearing impaired.
Before retiring to Southern Oregon in 1971 Roy Kabat trained and cared for animals that worked in Hollywood's movie and TV industry. He wrangled anything from cats and dogs to lions and elephants. In 1977, the American Humane Association called. They were trying a new idea and needed his help in Denver training a dog to assist a deaf woman. A loveable pet was taught to react to doorbells, telephones and the like.
Excited by the concept, Kabat returned to his Applegate Valley home, converted a barn into a kennel and training apartment, and started the nonprofit organization Dogs for the Deaf.
His fledgling organization had a dual purpose-rescue unwanted dogs from animal shelters and enhance human lives.
Kabat's daughter, Robin Dickson, continued the organization after his death in 1986.
Now housed in modern facilities in Central Point, Oregon, Dogs for the Deaf places trained dogs in homes throughout the United States and Canada and, over the years, has changed thousands of lives.
Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Dickson, Robin, interviewed by Pat Clason, April 12, 2005. Southern Oregon Historical Society Oral History 639.17; Dickson, Robin, ed. The Best of Dogs for the Deaf. Central Point, OR: Dogs for the Deaf, Inc, 1996; Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. website http://www.dogsforthedeaf.org/