Wildcat Service Dogs (WSD) is a student-run organization at the University of Kentucky. Our mission is to raise, train and educate the public about service dogs. Students in our program are selected to raise service dogs in training for the first 10-12 months of their lives. These student puppy raisers are responsible for the socialization, training, partial financing, and full-time housing of the dog. We also have an extensive "Full Access Sitter" Program, whereby students who are not ready to commit fully to training a program dog are able to watch and handle any of our program dogs in public.

 

After our puppies complete their basic training with WSD, they are sent to our partner facility, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI), where they are evaluated for possible acceptance into ADAI's advanced training program. Each dog then continues its training for approximately one more year with ADAI, before ADAI matches and places each dog with their "forever person."

 

WSD Puppy Raiser, Isabell Park, at the UK Class of 2016 Graduation with "Franklin," one of two WSD Program dogs which she raised.

Students in WSD are given the unique opportunity to work with incredible animals, with the goal of ultimately changing someone's life for the better. Our students are able to see the effects of helping someone in need up-close, an experience which is more rewarding than nearly any other on campus. In working with the dogs, students learn patience, responsibility, confidence, and unconditional love and selflessness. WSD teaches leadership skills, professionalism, compassion, and friendship. We are more than a professional organization; we are a family.

WSD Founder and Puppy Raiser, Katie Skarvan, with her second service-dog-in-training, "Chevy."

Katie Skarvan 

WSD Founder 

Katie Skarvan is a member of the University of Kentucky Class of 2014. She founded Wildcat Service Dogs in 2011 after being inspired by a service dog organization at her previous school, Texas A&M University. Since then, she Katie has trained our first graduate, Graham. She also worked with Paws with Purpose, located in Lousiville, KY and trained her second dog, Chevy. 

------------------Special Thanks to our Sponsors!------------------

Puppy Sponsors:

 

The Yoder Family

Sponsoring: "Wrigley"

In 2015, the Yoders received one of our past program dogs, "Brady", as an in-home therapy dog for their son. Brady spent his first year in Wildcat Service Dogs with student puppy raiser, Jordan Canady, before completing one year of advanced training at ADAI and being placed in the Yoders' home to help their son with everyday tasks. They have been so generous to support our program ever since. Wrigley is our first sponsored puppy, named by the Yoders in memory of their goofy family dalmation. We are forever grateful for the chance they have given to our students to raise Wrigley to change a life some day.

 

Breeder Sponsors:

Thank you to the following breeders who have donated a puppy to WSD.

We are forever grateful of your contribution!:

 

Fogle Farms: Central Kentucky

 

Thank you to the following breeders who have offered discounted pricing to WSD for puppies!:

 

Terry Lipps of Stone Creek Farm Labs: Cincinnati, OH

 

Sunset Goldens: Villa Park, IL

 

Food Sponsors:

Thank you to the following buisnesses who have offer discounted rates to WSD members: 

 

Bluegrass Barkery

Offers members 10% off their entire purchase!

 

Emilio's Pet Nutrition

 

Veterinary Sponsors:

Thank you to the following buisnesses who offer discounted rates for

WSD student puppy raisers:

 

Chevy Chase Animal Clinic

 

Clays Mill Veterinary Clinic

 

Packages & Supplies Donors:

Thank you to the following buisnesses who have donated packages and supplies for WSD fundraisers!

 

Kurgo

Planet Dog Foundation

Feeders Supply

Hollywood Feed

Benebone

Kong

Fluff and Tuff

 

Fundraising Donors:

Thank you to the following people/businesses who have donated their time and resources

to put on a fundraiser for WSD's benefit!

 

Pasta Garage

962 Delaware Ave, Lexington, KY 40505

Last year was our first annual end of the year banquet for WSD. This year and for years to come we have been fortunate to have partnered with Pasta Garage to have an awesome space to celebrate the past year with our fellow members and our pups! Thank you for allowing us to celebrate in such an amazing environemnt with fantastic food!

 

 

Pet Paws Self Serve Pet Wash

2519 Regency Road, Lexington KY 40503

Pet Paws hosts our biggest fundraiser every semester: our biannual pet wash! Victoria Martin, the shop owner, allows our members to take over her shop for one Sunday every semester, and wash every dog that comes in for 100% profit toward our organization. She is so generous to donate her shop, supplies, and advertising to help our organization, as well as offering free pet wash services for our program dogs year-round. We are so grateful to her and her wonderful shop!

 

 

Isabell Park

Izzy is a WSD alumni, who raised "Berkeley" and "Franklin" during her time in WSD, as well as serving as Vice President and Training Supervisor in her senior year. Izzy designed our logo, countless promotional and educational videos and short documentaries, and frequently designs our merchanside for our semesterly fundraisers even after graduation. She has also recently planned our first "Painting with Pawcasso" Fundraiser, donating 100% of the proceeds to WSD.

 

 

Our Dogs in the News

"Dealin' for Dogs"

Aired February 1st, 2018

Buckeye Community Arts Network, Toledo OH

Featuring "Hudson", and "Franklin", who graduated from WSD in the Fall of 2016 and Summer of 2015 respectively. Hudson was trained in WSD by student puppy raiser, Molly Mathistad, and Franklin was trained by student puppy raiser, Isabell Park. They both completed their training at Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, before being placed as service dogs with their partners, Daniel and Susan.

"Emotional Support Animal Debate Heats Up"

Aired February 1st, 2018

Wave3 News, Louisville KY

Featuring "Cameron", "Joe", and "Wrigley", while in training with WSD. The piece highlights the effects of bringing untrained pets in public upon those with disabilities who need their trained service dogs to be independent.

"Local Assistance Dogs Program in Need of Help"

Aired January 24th, 2018

Channel 13 abc News, Toledo OH

Featuring "Franklin", who graduated from WSD in the Summer of 2015 after being trained by student puppy raiser, Isabell Park. Franklin spent another year and a half at our partner facility, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, before being placed as a service dog with his partner, Susan. The piece focuses on the need for more volunteer puppy fosters at ADAI since the conclusion of their prison program.

"Monclova Primary Adds Therapy Dog"

Channel 13 abc News, Toledo OH

Featuring "Laney", who graduated from WSD in December of 2015 after being trained by student puppy raiser, Tom Harper. Laney spent another year and a half at our partner facility, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, before being placed as a therapy dog at Monclava Primary in Ohio. The piece highlights Laney's effects upon the students she helps every day at school.

"Service Dogs Improve the Lives of All"

Published February 8th, 2017

Hunter Mitchell, Kentucky Kernel, Lexington KY

Featuring "Mia", who left WSD's program in Jenuary of 2017 after being trained by student puppy raiser, Hunter Mitchell. Mia did not complete her training as a service dog, but she is now a certified therapy dog through Love on a Leash in Lexington. The article chronicles some of the many meaningful experiences of our student puppy raisers while working with these dogs.

"It's Raining (Wild)Cats and Dogs at the University of Kentucky"

Published on October 26th, 2016

Emily Baehner, The Odyssey Online, Lexington KY

Featuring "Hudson", who graduated from WSD in October of 2016 after being trained by student puppy raiser, Molly Mathistad. Hudson spent another year in training at Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, before being placed as a service dog with his person, named Daniel. The article focuses upon the relationship that is formed between each puppy and their raiser over the course of the year that we have them in our program. The article highlights the incredibly positive impact which our dogs have upon the lives of the students who get to work with them.

"Bad Dogs Give Wrong Idea About Service Dogs"

Published on September 25th, 2016

McKenna Horsely, Kentucky Kernel, Lexington KY

Featuring "Hudson", who graduated from WSD in October of 2016 after being trained by student puppy raiser, Molly Mathistad. Hudson spent another year in training at Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, before being placed as a service dog with his person, named Daniel. The article highlights the dangers of bringing pets into public under the guise of "service dogs", and the implications which these actions can have upon members of the disabled community who rely on highly trained service animals to get through each day safely.

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