June 28, 2014
They are called man's best friend but the Service Dogs of Virginia are much more than companions.
Service Dogs of Virginia hosted its first ever Ruff Cuts Film Festival on Saturday.
A large crowd gathered for a screening of a series of short films all about dogs at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
It costs about $40,000 to train a service dog over a two-year period.
Organizers say a film festival is the perfect way to get dog lovers and clients together for a good cause.
"It's exciting for us because we are a non-profit organization. We raise and train dogs for people with disabilities, but we don't charge our clients for the dogs so we have to raise money. We didn't want to have a black tie event. We wanted to do something original and more fitting for our organization," says Peggy Law, Executive Director of Service Dogs of Virginia.
Service Dogs of Virginia would not be able to impact the lives of so many people without the help of puppy raisers.
They raise service dogs until they're fully trained to help someone in need, an experience that many say is indescribable.
"I really do love it and if you ever go to the graduation, the service dog graduation, and you see what they do for the people that they help, the autistic children, the people with brittle diabetes. They can help the people in wheelchairs. I mean, you just feel you have to do it," says Joan Justice, a volunteer puppy raiser.
Currently Service Dogs of Virginia is looking for anyone interested in raising a puppy.
Organizers hope to raise $25,000, money that will go toward helping raise current and future Service Dogs of Virginia.