– History

For questions or additional information about Saint Francis Service Dogs contact us at info@saintfrancisdogs.org or call 540.342.DOGS (3647).

1996
Saint Francis Service Dogs was founded by Carol Willoughby and Sherri Spell and received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status that year.

1998
Saint Francis placed its first fully trained service dog.

2000
Saint Francis hired an Executive Director and Training Director, transitioning from an all-volunteer organization to a professionally managed organization.

2002
The Gift of Independence Capital Campaign was launched to raise funds to purchase a small 18-acre horse farm called Lakeland Stables for eventual conversion into a full-scale, high-quality service dog training center.

2003
Saint Francis moves its administrative and training activities to the former Lakeland Stables property.

2007
Saint Francis becomes the first organization in Virginia to be accredited by Assistance Dogs International.

2008
Saint Francis launches the Building Independence Capital Campaign to raise funds to build a state-of-the-art kennel facility.

2009
Saint Francis breaks ground on the new building.

2010
Saint Francis moves into the new state-of-the-art kennel and training center and increases the number of dogs in the training program.

Saint Francis expands service area.

2011
Saint Francis launches Facility Dog Program and places its first Facility Dog.

2012
Saint Francis is accredited by Assistance Dogs International for the second time.

2013
The Luke Woody Memorial Garden is dedicated.

2017
Saint Francis is accredited by Assistance Dogs International for the third time.

Moving Forward
Saint Francis is planning for the expansion of our facilities to include a Training and Administrative Center

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