DogFest Washington DC 2021 Supporting Canine Companions
DogFest Washington DC 2021

About DogFest Washington DC 2021

Gather your friends, family and dogs for a day of fun! The human-canine bond is truly unique. On our happiest and hardest of days, our dogs love us endlessly. They are our everyday heroes in so many ways. Whether as service dogs, working dogs or pet dogs, there are countless tales of man's best friend doing amazing things. Join the fun at your local DogFest or participate virtually as we celebrate the joy dogs bring to our lives. Registration is free. Fundraising is encouraged. There are sponsorship, volunteer and vendor opportunities too!

When registering, be sure to indicate you are bringing a dog to get your free DogFest dog bandana. Then fundraise to qualify for some fun DogFest swag!

DogFest supports the mission of Canine Companions to
 enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing expertly trained service dogs free of charge. These dogs make a profound impact through the jobs they do like opening doors, picking up dropped items, alerting to sounds and much more.

DogFest Washington DC 2020 was a great success! Our incredible volunteer committee transformed the in-person event into a virtual one that featured graduate speakers, service dog demos, online contests, and much more - raising over $74,000 for Canine Companions! 

This year, we look forward to being back together in-person at Reston Town Center on Saturday, October 23. The event will feature graduate speakers, service dog demos, vendors, a dog agility course, canine contests, and much more! The event will also take place virtually for those who cannot attend. 

Take the fitness challenge! Is your best friend "hounding" you to get off the couch? Then get out and get moving with your furry friend and benefit DogFest Washington DC and Canine Companions. You can run, walk, roll or jog in your neighborhood, on a treadmill, on a trail or on a track. Participate at your own pace while social distancing. Be sure to ask friends and family to donate for each mile you successfully complete! Remember to take plenty of photos and videos and share them with us on the DogFest Washington DC Facebook event page- use the hashtags #caninedogfest and #dogfestwashingtondc when posting!​ Make sure to log your miles on your participant page and watch the thermometer rise!

We will continue to monitor CDC and local health guidelines related to COVID-19 and will provide any event updates on this page. We hope to see you on October 23.

Don’t miss out on DogFest. Join the fun!


Starts at:  October 23, 2021 10:00 AM
Ends at:  October 23, 2021 2:00 PM


Reston Town Center
1818 Discovery Street
Reston,VA 20190 USA


Debra MacKenzie

Gather your friends, family and dogs for a day of fun!

DogFest is Canine Companions' national signature event, supporting the mission of Canine Companions to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing expertly trained service dogs free of charge. These service dogs make a profound impact through the jobs they do like opening doors, picking up dropped items, alerting to sounds and much more. Your participation makes a profound impact.

Our dogs love us endlessly, and the human-canine bond is powerful! Whether as service dogs, working dogs or pet dogs, there are countless tales of our best friends doing amazing things. We invite you to join the fun at your local DogFest or participate virtually as we gather to celebrate the joy dogs bring to our lives. Registration is free. Fundraising is encouraged. 

There are sponsorship [LINK], volunteer [LINK] and vendor [LINK] opportunities, too!

Why We Fundraise

Canine Companions transforms the lives of people with disabilities by providing expertly trained service dogs. Our dogs perform practical tasks that enhance independence and reduce reliance on others. They aren't just the eyes and ears, hands and legs of their human partners, they're also goodwill ambassadors and often, our best friends. A student achieves their dreams of attending college. A veteran gets a good night sleep. A patient can endure an additional procedure. Lives are transformed after being matched and working with a Canine Companions service dog. 

According to the U.S. Census, nearly 1 in 4 people in the U.S. have a disability. While it costs approximately $50,000 to raise and train every Canine Companions service dog and provide ongoing support to the human-canine team, each dog is provided to the recipient completely FREE of charge. Canine Companions has placed over 6,800 service dogs, but more than 400 people with disabilities are still waiting for a match. 

Our service dogs open up new opportunities and spread incredible joy. By raising funds through DogFest, you support our mission and the people we serve. Thank you.

Canine Companions in the Northeast Region

  • ​450 active graduates 
  • 145 active puppy raisers 

Samantha and Rylynn

Samantha was matched with Facility Dog, Rylynn, in May 2021 at the Northeast Regional Training Center. Samantha and Rylynn work at the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, where they are members of the specialized Sexual Abuse Unit within Child Protective Services. Rylynn has been an incredible addition to CPS as she is present during forensic interviews with children who are victims of sexual abuse. Rylynn will also be available to comfort children while they are testifying in court. Canine Companions does such an incredible job matching dogs and people. Rylynn was clearly bred and trained to be a calming presence during traumatic experiences.

Janie's Story of Independence

Janie was matched with Service Dog Haven IV in November 2015 at the North Central Regional Training Center. She recently completed her doctoral degree in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and now resides in Virginia, volunteering as the participant recruitment chair on the DogFest Washington DC event committee. Before being matched with Janie, Haven spent six months in professional training where she learned over 40 commands to assist Janie with daily tasks, such as how to pick up dropped items like car keys or a cellphone, open and close doors, turn on lights and more. The team shares a passion for learning new things; for instance, Janie taught Haven to flip the footrests on her power wheelchair up with her nose, so she can transfer to the chair safely, and then put them back down again once she is seated. 

Haven has also been a source of much-needed comfort and emotional support during the pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, Janie was not able to see her family for over six months - making Haven's company even more crucial. Janie says: "Haven is a personification of all the love, hard work and dedication from the many Canine Companions volunteers, staff and donors, who helped make her the magnificent dog she is today. Haven's snuggles and "visits" have gotten me through many sleepless nights over the past year."

Jonathan's Story of Independence

Jonathan Farmer was matched with his second service dog, Hearing Dog Shiann, in 2016. He says: "I am a two-time graduate of Canine Companions and couldn't imagine my life without the help of my current Hearing Dog Shiann. Having been born with a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears, I've had to learn to navigate through life a little differently than everyone else. Sounds that many would take for granted, I either don't hear at all or have trouble hearing. This is where Shiann comes to the rescue. No more missing the kitchen timer when I'm cooking dinner. No more wondering what will happen if my home catches on fire in the middle of the night since I can't hear smoke detectors. No more missing phone calls when I'm not near my phone. She even lets me know when someone is coming up behind me on the sidewalk, as I likely wouldn't hear them say excuse me. Shiann has helped enable an independent life for me, free from worry and stress about missing important sounds and events."

Honoring Erin Scranton

DogFest Washington DC would not be the success it is today were it not for the hard work and dedication of Canine Companions volunteer Erin Scranton. She spent several years chairing the event, including co-chairing the first DogFest DC in 2013, and worked tirelessly to increase money raised and attract new attendees each year by creating an educational, inspirational, and entertaining event. On top of chairing, Erin shared her creative talents by masterfully crafting gorgeous quilts each year, donating all proceeds to DogFest, and inspiring countless volunteers around the country to do the same. 

In addition to DogFest, Erin began puppy raising in 2012, raising four service dogs in training, and became well known for recruiting and mentoring new raisers. She spoke eloquently about the Canine Companions mission and served as president of the Capital Volunteer Chapter for two years. Erin's passion and commitment to the mission was truly unmatched. We are grateful to have had Erin as a member of the Canine Companions family and are honored to celebrate her life and legacy with this year's DogFest Washington DC. 

Honoring Michele Purton

Michele Purton was a long-time member of the Canine Companions Capital Volunteer Chapter, raising her first puppy, Mercer, in 2002. Michele and her husband, Jim, went on to raise 10 service dogs in training through 2020. In addition to puppy raising, Michele was involved in raising awareness and funds for DogFest through the Lions Club. She travelled to many Lions International and state conventions, conferences, and events to represent Canine Companions and fundraised and participated in DogFest each year. We are thankful to have had her as a member of the Canine Companions family. 

Sponsor Spotlight

MBH Settlement Group is proud to be a Big Dog sponsor for DogFest Washington DC, generously donating $3,000 to support the event. MBH has been serving the DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities for over 25 years, providing the homebuyer, seller, refinancer, and real estate agent with the most knowledgeable, experienced, and courteous service in the settlement industry. They are glad to show support to those in their community with disabilities and the Canine Companions mission.  

Want to see your company spotlighted? Click here for more information about becoming a sponsor!

Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors