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Give a Dog a Job

Walk, Run, or Roll to Support Your Canine Companions

Article by Juliana Brisco

Photography by Canine Companions

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

Most dogs know how to sit, lie down, and even fetch a ball in the park. But what if your dog could fetch your phone during an emergency? Or pick up your keys from under a chair?

Canine Companions is a nonprofit organization that provides highly trained service dogs for adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. Canine Companions puppies start their journey by being raised by volunteer puppy raisers for about 18 months before they head off to professional training where they are taught over 40 commands, including how to open doors and pick up dropped items.

Although Canine Companions provides service dogs to their recipients free of charge, it can cost over $50,000 to raise and train one service dog. Help “give a dog a job” this October by participating in the 4th annual Give a Dog a Job 5k on October 1st hosted by the Canine Companions Old Dominion Chapter, and presented by McGeorge Toyota. All of the money raised will go directly to Canine Companions to help train and place life-changing service dogs with their recipients.

“Dogs are at the heart of so many here at McGeorge. Loving owners from both our staff and customers regularly bring in their loved ones for a visit. It always puts a smile on each and every one of our faces. So when the opportunity presented itself to work with Canine Companions there was no hesitation. They are doing amazing work of helping those in need of a service dog, and we want to do our part to help them continue to serve,” said Courtney Taylor, Digital Marketing Manager at McGeorge Toyota.

This family and pet-friendly 5k run, walk, and roll begins at 9 a.m., and is once again hosted by the incredible staff at the Main Line Brewery located in Scott's Addition in Richmond, Virginia.

“Main Line Brewery is honored to host the Give a Dog a Job 5k fundraiser again this year. We met a volunteer puppy raiser named Jackie last year. At that time Jackie told us about Canine Companions, the puppy raisers, the service dog trainers and everything else including the many hours that go into creating a highly trained service dog customized to each recipient. Main Line Brewery has always been very dog friendly and hosting this organization is a perfect match for us,” explained Shelly McDowell, co-owner of Main Line Brewery.

In addition to the race, there will be a variety of events including a costume contest, a free “Doggie Dash” for kids ages 4 to 8 years old, and a puppy kissing booth featuring Canine Companions future service dogs. Awards and prizes will be given to top finishers of the race and all participants of the “Doggie Dash,” as well as awards for the best-dressed dog and human, cash prizes, and door prizes.

Interested in joining in on the fun? The first 250 registered participants for the 5k will receive an event t-shirt and a swag bag full of goodies from our sponsors, who are all small business owners in Richmond. The event also offers special pricing for high school students, family, and corporate teams.

Sign up now at: Learn more about the race and schedule of events at:

Can’t join us in person? To celebrate National Service Dog Month, we now offer a virtual 30- and 60-mile challenge exclusively during the month of September. We can’t wait to see you there!

If you would like to learn more about applying for a service dog or puppy raising with Canine Companions, visit their website:

Juliana Brisco has a Master's degree from Hofstra University, and recently completed her Associates degree in Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship from SUNY Adirondack. She's a 2016 graduate of Canine Companions with much-loved service dog, Rowdy. Juliana enjoys teaching others about the life-changing abilities of service dogs through her writing.

  • Back: Blues, Auggie II, Zachary IV. Front: Silvia II, Winsome III, Sage VI. Canine Companions’ Old Dominion Chapter raised all dogs shown, except Blues.