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, but 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 Washington DC, 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!
This year, DogFest Washington DC will be in a new location within Reston Town Center. Join us at Reston Town Square Park on Market Street, between St. Francis Street and Explorer Street!
Take the fitness challenge! Is your best friend "hounding" you to get off the couch? Ten 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, trail, or track. Participate at your own pace! 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 to our Facebook page with the hashtags #caninedogfest and #dogfestwashingtondc. Log those miles on your participant page and watch the thermometer rise!
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.
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 Northeast Region
Three-time successor graduate Janette attended Team Training at the Miller Family Campus in August of 2021, where she was matched with her third Canine Companions service dog named Cheshire. Janette says, “I was so elated because I was so stressed out about not being able to have a dog to help me out in public.” She continues, “Although I didn’t go out, my retired dog Paisley still helped me with laundry and closing doors and getting things out.”
“What people don’t understand is that my service dogs are the reason I get up in the morning and have the energy to go to work,” says Ray, who retired from the Pentagon and now works for General Dynamics. “Cheshire takes all of the burden from me every day by doing things. He watches over me, and when I’m not in the room he’s looking for me. I can’t imagine life without a constant friend by my side. My Canine Companions service dogs have given me the encouragement to get through each day.”
Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Michael Carrasquillo (USA Ret.) was an airborne infantryman and fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was severely wounded in a firefight in Sept. 2005 during an air assault mission in Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He was attempting to pull an injured member of his unit to safety when he was hit with a barrage of enemy gunfire. He spent two years recovering at Walter Reed, with more than 40 surgeries. In 2016, Sgt. Carrasquillo was matched with Canine Companions service dog Ojai IV. Ojai is an 8-year-old Labrador Retriever trained to respond to over 40 professional commands, such as opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, and retrieving dropped items. Today, Sgt. Carrasquillo lives in Maryland, and is the host of WTF Nation Radio’s “POP Culture Warrior.” He’s also active in veterans outreach programs such as Wounded Warriors Project, Armed Services Arts Partnership, Mission Continues, Disabled Sports USA, and Team Red, White and Blue. Sgt. Carrasquillo says Ojai continues to be an incredible addition to his life, “He’s everything I didn’t even know I was missing. He’s perfect - It’s like he was made just for me.”
Joe Nieves was matched with Service Dog Jem in March 2022 at the Canine Companions Northeast Region Training Center. Jem is trained to perform many tasks to assist Nieves. Most helpful, Nieves said, is how she helps him with anxiety in public. For example, she can be a barrier, standing either in front of or behind him to prevent people from getting too close. Because of Jem, Joe was able to attend Washington DC’s Comic Con convention, which was his first event in about five years!
Janette attended Team Training at the Miller Family Campus in August of 2021, where she was matched with her third Canine Companions Service Dog named Cheshire. Janette says, “I was so elated because I was so stressed out about not being able to have a service dog to help me out in public.” She continues, “Although I didn’t go out, my retired dog Paisley still helped me with laundry and closing doors and getting things out.”
Nancy Lagasse is a two time graduate and says she is “the proud recipient of Successor Service Dog Writer. I became a part of the Canine Companions family in 2008 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and severe depression. That graduation day in February of 2008 with Service Dog Arkin by my side was the start of my beautiful and joyful new life. 14 years have passed and today I am 72 years old and am still living independently because of Canine Companions’ gift, Successor Service Dog Writer.”
Samantha was matched with Facility Dog Rylynn in May 2021 at the Northeast Region 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 a calming presence during forensic interviews with children and is able to accompany them to testify in court.
Dr. Cara Miller is a Professor of Psychology at Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. From her home to the busy campus grounds and commute through Washington, D.C., Hearing Dog Turf has an important job — he is tasked with being Cara’s ears. While Gallaudet has many modifications in place to make the university an accessible environment with flashing doorbells, video phones, and bilingual American Sign Language and English classrooms, Hearing Dog Turf still has a lot to do to help Cara be aware of important sounds in her environment, both at home and at work.
Cara teaches Clinical Psychology doctoral students, including supervising research and clinical practice. In the classroom, Turf always has an eye on the time. When Cara sets a timer to beep at the end of class, Turf lets her know with a nudge that it’s time to wrap up the lecture, a gesture appreciated by her students.