JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Cheers for the Jacksonville Jaguars rang out at watch parties across our area Saturday, but for a 5 month-old service dog named ‘Duval’ watching the game was also an opportunity for training.
Named in honor of the city of Jacksonville and the Jaguars, 5-month-old service dog Duval will spend the next year and half training with his volunteer co-puppy raisers, one of whom is Ella Brock a freshman at Nease High School.
“It’s absolutely reward to help someone, these dogs are awesome," Ella Brock, a volunteer puppy raiser, said.
This is the first puppy that Brock will train alongside her neighbor, veteran puppy trainer Jan Goodhue. It's part of a volunteer program for Canine Companion program, the largest non-profit provider of service dogs in the United States.
“I got involved because I love dogs and helping people is an awesome things and I’m really passionate about that," Brock said.
Duval will need to learn up to 30 commands before he can enroll in a service dog training center, and a watch party for the Jacksonville Jaguars is the perfect place to learn new skills, like being around crowds, responding to loud noises, and not eating food that may fall to the ground.
“We practice those commands," Brock said.
Duval will eventually be matched with a person with disabilities, a veteran, or work in a human service role.
"They will train him specifically for that specific person and he will graduate probably a little over 2 years old, and then he will be that person's puppy for the rest of his life," Jan Goodhue, a volunteer puppy raiser, said.
Over 1,000 puppy's like Duval are currently being trained for service nationwide and the service dogs are provided free of cost to eligible applicants.
The center in Jacksonville is always looking for volunteers to help with training, anyone interested can call the Southwest Region Training Center at (407) 522-3300 or apply here.