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."
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.
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!------------------
The Yoder Family
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.
Thank you to the following breeders who have donated a puppy to WSD.
We are forever grateful of your contribution!:
Thank you to the following breeders who have offered discounted pricing to WSD for puppies!:
Thank you to the following buisnesses who have offer discounted rates to WSD members:
Offers members 10% off their entire purchase!
Thank you to the following buisnesses who offer discounted rates for
WSD student puppy raisers:
Packages & Supplies Donors:
Thank you to the following buisnesses who have donated packages and supplies for WSD fundraisers!
Thank you to the following people/businesses who have donated their time and resources
to put on a fundraiser for WSD's benefit!
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.