Assistance Training Dogs Set to “Graduate” Saturday

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The paws4people 5th Annual Reunion and Graduation will be held at UNCW Oct. 7-8.

Kyria Henry, a part-time faculty member in the UNCW School of Health and Applied Human Sciences, is the founder and director of the local Wilmington nonprofit that trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities.

Through a partnership with UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services, the assistance dog training program gives students the chance to train and work with service dogs that will go on to assist disabled veterans, active-duty service members and adults and children with physical and psychiatric disabilities. Facility dogs are also placed with human services professionals as facility dogs or assistance dog ambassadors.

During Saturday’s graduation ceremony, 40 client-assistance dog teams who successfully completed and passed public access training will be recognized. In addition, the dogs will be given official assistance dog vests and be united with their new owners. The event will be held from 12 to 3 p.m. in the Warwick Center Ballroom and is open to the general public.

“We are very proud of our students who conducted hundreds of hours of training, taking dogs-in-training to stores, restaurants, theaters and other public environments to prepare them for clients,” said Chris Lantz, SHAHS director.

--Caroline Cropp