Service Dogs of Virginia hosts Demo Day
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Service Dogs of Virginia hosted its Service Dog demo day at The Center at Belvedere to meet its newest rookies. Service Dogs of Virginia was founded 23 years ago by Peggy Law who was inspired after she had a life-altering event.
“I founded the organization 23 years ago and I was in an accident. I learned that your life could change in the blink of an eye,” Law said.
Now, as the executive director for Service Dogs for Virginia, Law has worked with multiple trainers, puppy raisers, and recipients with pups who are much more than just furry companions.
“They have been wonderful to work with, so it’s been a fun adventure. It is a reasonable time commitment, but it pays off with the good they do and the fun you have,” Puppy Raiser Marty Silverman said.
On Sunday, the nonprofit hosted a demo day where raisers got to show off Lily and Kipper’s skills at just three months old.
“Once a year, we do a showing on how we train our dogs. Sometimes we do older dog demos, but today was puppies because we had puppies available to share. This was a test that shows how we evaluate puppies for service dog work,” Law said.
At seven or eight weeks of age, the puppies start their initial testing that looks for their reactions to noise, objects, surfaces and handling, which marks the start of their training process.
After puppy graduation, the dogs are then trained to be a part of one of five programs including working with people who are in wheelchairs, need medical alerts, and suffer from PTSD.
The puppies will graduate from their training later this year and begin the next phase toward becoming service dogs.