In the Community

Helping Paws 17th Annual Tail Waggin’ Dinnerdog

We at Rockford Road Animal Hospital (RRAH) love to support exceptional organizations and Helping  Paws is one of them. Mary and Deb of RRAH recently attended the 17the Annual Tail Waggin’ Dinner where 75 dogs attended which consisted of service dogs and dogs in training. It is one of Helping Paws largest fundraisers of the year with a silent and live auction.  The organization helps to further people’s independence and quality of life through the use of service dogs.

 “Helping Paws is a great volunteer gig where you get to give a piece of your heart,” said Mary. And, she should know. Along with serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors, Mary is currently training her third service dog—Elska, who will celebrate her second birthday in October. Mary, as the foster trainer, gets the privilege of giving the puppy her forever name. She chose Elska which means love in Norwegian. 

“It is remarkable to watch this crazy puppy turn into a service dog,” Mary said.  When you are a foster trainer, you receive a puppy when they are 8 weeks old. You are responsible for training the puppy until they are about 2.5 years old. During this time the service dog will learn over 80 commands.

“With the training, the dogs become little helpers around the house, with amazing abilities from opening doors to picking up items,” Mary explains.

After the extensive training is completed, the service dogs graduate. This is where the foster trainer presents the service dog to the person who needs them most.  Graduation for the service dogs that have completed their training will be on October 9 at 7 p.m. at Hopkins High School Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served following the program.

For more information about Helping Paws, visit