SERVICE DOGS is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to assist
children and adults with disabilities become more independent and
self-sufficient through partnership with a professionally trained
The organization is also committed to promoting the use and acceptance
of service dogs through public and professional education, providing
advocacy for service dog partners and supporting the growth of the
service dog industry on a national level.
Formed in 1996, Saint Francis Service Dogs is the largest service dog
organization in Virginia and is accredited by Assistance Dogs
Over the years, Saint Francis has placed many professionally trained
service dogs to assist people with a wide range of disabilities,
including autism, cerebral palsy, joint and/or muscular diseases,
multiple sclerosis, brain injury, paralysis, Parkinsons, rheumatoid
arthritis, and many other disabling conditions.
It takes two years and costs up to $25,000 to train one service dog.
Saint Francis absorbs this cost and does not charge for service dogs.
Stella – 4/28/13
Stella has a spunky disposition that
her trainer loves. She is a happy worker and is always eager to
interact and learn. She is progressing nicely with her training, and
we feel she will continue to do well in our program.
Barker – 4/28/13
Barker was named for animal advocate
and TV host Bob Barker. He’s just a few months into advanced
training and already is making good progress. Barker is happy in
his work and sometimes takes his name in different direction – he
does love to bark!
Elvis – 8/24/12
Elvis has been placed as a Facility dog. He’s working at a child
advocacy center that works to prevent child abuse and neglect
provide support for children through investigation and court
proceedings and provides parent education. He’s proving himself to
be a valuable and well-loved part of the staff.
been placed with a veteran. This gentleman has physical injuries
that require him to use a cane and take ongoing physical therapy; he
lives alone and also has PTSD which had caused him to become very
reclusive. Paco helps his partner by getting dropped items, tugging
doors, retrieving his cane for him and bringing him a stool to help
him get up should he fall in his apartment, but most importantly
Paco has given his partner the confidence to get out in public
again. His partner proudly shows pictures he keeps with him of Paco,
tells of new friends he has made and the traveling he and Paco have
done together…Paco has given him his life back!
Deuce – 6/8/10
Deuce is a facility dog at a school for
children who have autism and learning disabilities. His daily work
has much variety; as part of the educational process children read
to Deuce, groom and feed him and play ball. He is used in
Occupational Therapy and class room settings. Deuce has been such a
success we now have similar schools who also want a facility dog.
Georgie II – 6/1/09
Georgie II has since retired and
remains with her partner. When she was working she picked up dropped
items, brought the phone and even helped make the bed. She has
become more of a “daddy’s girl” these days, playing many games and
continuing her antics.
Zeus – 8/28/07
Zeus also is with a partner who has
Cerebral Palsy. While in high school Zeus accompanied her to school
and now that she’s older goes with her every day to work. They ride
the trolley to her job downtown. He’s been by her side as she’s
gotten her driver’s license which has helped her become even more
independent. He picks up dropped items, provides stability and
overall makes people smile!
Buck – 8/28/07
Buck was placed with a teenager who has Cerebral
Palsy. Buck helps his partner’s mom pick things up when her hands are full, he
can tug the door when she is pushing the wheelchair, he plays games with partner
and is used in parts of his therapy.
Buck & Zues