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 assistance 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!
Be sure to check out our Facebook event page for the latest on DogFest North Central, participate in dog-friendly activities and let people know why you are participating. You can even download this fun sign and let everyone know how your dog brings you joy.
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 service dogs make a profound impact through the jobs they do like opening doors, picking up dropped items, alerting to sounds and much more.
Whether you are in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota or west of Pittsburgh or you support one of our graduate teams living in eastern Canada, we invite you to join DogFest North Central to support the Canine Companions mission.
IMPORTANT EVENT PARKING DETAILS: DogFest 2022 is just over one week away and we have everything you need to know! Parking will be provided by Discover, located at 6500 New Albany Road E. The NE lot, as seen in this photo, will open Sunday morning and can be accessed from New Albany-Condit Road. From there, shuttle services will take you to and from the event. The North Central campus will be reserved for accessible parking only during DogFest. We look forward to seeing you all Sunday, Sept. 18!
Don’t miss out on DogFest. Join the 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!
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 7,000 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 North Central Region
Meet Salvador “Tonio” and Service Dog Elvis
In 2017, an Ohio family was invited by a friend to attend a Canine Companions fundraiser event. At the event, Kelly and her son, Salvador “Tonio”, met a few service dogs and talked to people about the organization. “We were hooked, Tonio wanted to get a dog for a while, but I didn’t think we could take care of anything else in our life,” Kelly said. Kelly said her son is an only child and often didn’t have a friend in the neighborhood to play with ball with. The two were invited to Canine Companions' North Central Training Center to complete Team Training. Tonio was immediately drawn to Service Dog Elvis, with whom he was eventually matched. “Having Elvis has been such a joy,” Kelly went on to say. “When he’s out with Tonio, it definitely softens up hospital visits and doctors appts.” Service Dog Elvis carries Tonio’s glove to baseball practice, his papers to and from appointments and often his book bag. “Elvis tugs laundry brackets across the house for Tonio and tugs the door shut when he gets in the house, and he pushes doors open and closed for Tonio as well,” Kelly said. Service Dog Elvis not only helps with daily tasks, but also with socializing Tonio. “So many people want to see Elvis and get to know more about him, Tonio enjoys talking about him,” Kelly said.
Meet Jessica and Service Dog Ford
Jessica, her significant other Anthony, their spunky cat Marley, and Service Dog Ford are one happy family living in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In 2009, Jessica graduated from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College with an associate degree in Human Services. That same year, she applied to Canine Companions. She’s matched with Canine Companions Service Dog Ford IV. Working as a team, in 2019, she became involved in the Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Organization and was Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2021. “I didn’t win the national title; however, I did win outstanding speech award and personally, this recognition means more to me then taking the title because not only did I overcome my fear of public speaking, I accomplished my ultimate goal of educating people about the dangers of service dog fraud,” Jessica said. Jessica and Service Dog Ford are constantly working on several commands together every day, especially with Jessica’s busy schedule. “Having a service dog has allowed me to be self-sufficient with the help of a paw. I can now get out of my apartment independently and have the security of knowing that if I drop my wallet, debit card, phone, keys, or etc., Ford is one command away from picking it up with ease,” Jessica said. For her, Service Dog Ford has changed her life. “He gives me the independence allowing me to live a more fulfilling life,” Jessica went on to say, “Our partnership gives me a reason to get up in the morning because yes, I depend on him, but he also depends on me.”
Meet Ellie and Service Dog Rupert
It was a decision that changed two lives forever. In 2014, Rebecca started fostering a beautiful 18-month-old girl in Ghana, who was born with cerebral palsy. Fostering turned into adopting. That beautiful little girl, Ellie, officially became her daughter and they lived in Ghana until Ellie was four years old, when she was finally able to immigrate to the United States. Rebecca first heard about Canine Companions through social media and seeing other teams out and about. That’s when the second decision was made - one that changed their lives even more. “Rupert has been the greatest blessing and a huge change in our lives since we got him, we can’t imagine our lives without him,” Rebecca said. Facilitator Rebecca and daughter, Ellie, were matched with Canine Companions Service Dog Rupert in 2020. Since returning home, they’ve been working hard to master commands at home and in therapy. Ellie does a lot of inpatient and outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy every week. Rupert hasn’t missed one appointment with Ellie. “Ellie’s therapist will integrate Rupert into many activities, like bowling, doing puzzles, crawling, walking and sitting.” Rebecca goes on to say, “She is so much more motivated and has been meeting so many amazing milestones in the last year that we’ve had Rupert that previously may have taken her two or three years to meet. Rupert is Ellie’ greatest motivator and best friend.”