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 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.
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!
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 7,500 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
Meet Dr. Cara Miller & Service Dog Frankie
Dr. Cara Miller is an associate professor of psychology and faculty member in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Miller says she has a deep appreciation for her unique canine partners who have been by her side. Together with her successor service dog, Frankie, they work on new sounds that people with hearing may take for granted, such as the shrill whistle of the teakettle; the sirens from approaching emergency vehicles; or the sound of someone calling out their name. Dr. Miller says Frankie empowers to make every day Independence Day.
Meet US Army LTC Catherine (Cat) Kemmerling & Service Dog Ekina
US Army LTC Catherine (Cat) Kemmerling (1986-2010) and her husband are both veterans who work for the federal government. Cat is an Advanced Leadership Instructor based in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. As a result of injuries from her military service, Cat has a number of mobility issues that make it difficult for her with balance and stability. Cat applied for a Canine Companions service dog, and in May of 2018, she was matched with Ekina, a lab/golden cross raised by volunteer puppy raiser Jackie Cheshire and her family of Great Falls, Virginia. Cat says Ekina allows her to keep doing the things she loves! “ Ekina gives me a reason to get up in the morning, which can be tough. I feel more confident and safe with his help, getting up and down stairs and getting through my day.” Cat is at home on her farm in Hedgesville, WV, raising pigs, chickens, horses and turkeys.
Meet Jimmy Ludwick & Service Dog Micah
Jimmy Ludwick and his service dog Micah are one of Canine Companions newest service dog teams! Jimmy lives in Maryland, where he works for the U.S. Department of the Navy in the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) department. Micah is now accompanying Jimmy to work regularly. Jimmy and Micah are very active, and in his spare time, Jimmy enjoys fishing, swimming, attending fitness classes and playing Quad Rugby. Jimmy says Micah helps facilitate a new level of independence, allowing him to live in his community by himself!
Meet Patricia Coale & Service Dog Mushu
Mushu is Patricia’s 3rd Canine Companions service dog. Patricia is the Director of Therapeutic Recreation at The Up Center for Norfolk, County. The Up Center provides more than 20 critical support services for children and families, including mental health counseling, parenting education and support, youth mentoring, foster care and adoption, housing and financial counseling, and services for people with disabilities. Mushu accompanies Patricia to work each day!
Meet Janie Mejias & Service Dog Haven
Janie Mejias is from Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated from Canine Companions in 2015 with her much-loved service dog Haven IV. Janie says her bond with Haven was instantaneous. “Haven’s calm, willing, and focused personality was a perfect match while I attended and taught classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago” says Janie. “I remember the tremendous sense of relief I felt the first time I dropped my keys, and a pen at the library. I didn’t have to ask a stranger to pick them up. Haven was more than happy to pick both items up for me with a wagging tail.” Janie says Haven’s excellent manners and reliable performance makes it possible for her to navigate in public safely and effectively. “Over the past eight years Haven has consistently given me the confidence and security I need to live independently in Chicago and now in Virginia. Many, many, thanks to all the puppy raisers out there! You are in the hearts of not only the puppies you raise, but also the hearts of their graduates!”
Adventist HealthCare is proud to be a Top Dog Sponsor for DogFest Washington DC. Adventist HealthCare, based in Gaithersburg, Md., is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization of dedicated professionals who work together each day to improve the health and well-being of people and communities through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing. Having served their communities for over 100 years, their high-quality care is recognized by elite accreditations and awards for areas such as cardiac, OB, cancer, stroke, orthopedic, rehabilitation and mental health services. They pride themselves on their compassionate care at every stage of your journey – and know their commitment to your health extends beyond treatment for illness or injury!