Saint Francis Service Dogs provides professionally trained dogs to people with a disability in order to assist them to live a more independent and self-sufficient life. The people we serve may have autism, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, brain injury, amputations, paralysis or other disabling conditions.

Service dogs are taught a wide range of commands in order to assist in the activities of daily living. They retrieve items, carry things, open doors and bring the phone, among many other things. At the same time, their 24-hour companionship provides the safety and peace of mind that comes from knowing that the dog can both provide physical assistance and seek help if needed. The partnership generates a strong emotional bond between human and dog. Through this bond, the person often develops a positive focus and an incentive to be active. The result is increased motivation, higher self-esteem, a greater sense of belonging, as well as more social interaction and a higher quality of life.

These observations are confirmed by medical studies. A 1996 study found that people with disabilities who had a service dog demonstrated dramatic improvements in daily living and leisure activities, as well as in work and school attendance, with an overall improvement in well-being, self-esteem and quality of life. A 1993 study reported that 90% of mobility impaired service dog owners reported being more independent and less lonely after receiving a service dog. The study also found that 75% of all service dog owners said that relationships with friends, community and family improved after receiving a service dog.

Saint Francis trainers, staff and volunteers, as well as partners and their family members, commonly report observing major increases in self-confidence, assertiveness and general mood improvement from people as they assume relationships with their dog partners. Partnership with a service dog can enable a person to attend school, obtain meaningful work, and participate fully in the life of their community.
Saint Francis thanks Purina for their support
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If you are interested in applying for a Saint Francis Service Dog, please visit the How to Apply page for instructions.
For questions or additional information about Saint Francis Service Dogs contact us at or call 540.342.DOGS (3647).

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