DogFest North Central exceeds fundraising goal

Woman in a wheelchair speaking on stage at the DogFest event with her service dog sitting next to herThe North Central Training Center in Ohio buzzed with excitement the morning of Sept. 18 as staff and volunteers arrived on campus to begin setting up for DogFest.

Vendors assembled tables along the breezeway spanning from the Administration Building all the way to New Leash Hall. On the other side of campus, a bounce house began to take shape as it filled with air, revealing a large, smiling dog.

The day was the culmination of month’s worth of staff preparation and fundraising efforts on behalf of dedicated volunteers. The goal? To raise more than $370,000 in an effort to ensure Canine Companions can continue to place more service and facility dog teams with people with disabilities at no cost.

Canine Companions graduate Mona Sedrak, who spoke at the event, said her life changed for the better when she was matched with service dog Flo.

“If it wasn’t for volunteers and the fundraising and the gifts that are given to Canine Companions, people like me would never have Flo, would never have their independence, their self-esteem, their self-confidence back,” said Sedrak.

Ultimately, DogFest North Central team members exceeded their fundraising goal and raised more than $438,000. It’s a feat that wouldn’t have been possible without the support and dedication from volunteers throughout the region.