JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval, the Golden Retriever puppy, will be one of the thousands of fans cheering on the Jags this weekend.
The pup is also one of thousand who are being trained to be service dogs for Canine Companions. The program provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD, adults, and children with mental health issues and those who are disabled.
The organization breeds Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds.
Jan Goodhue, who is one of Duval’s co-raisers, has raised and trained service dogs for Canine Companions for six years. Goodhue said Duval knows about five commands right now, but by the end of his training — he’ll know 45.
“The commands are heel on the left side, side is on the right side, sit down, shake, he knows his name and he also knows kennel and bed,” she said.
Duval will officially be matched with his owner when he’s almost two.
“Duval is doing absolutely wonderful. He is very laid back, yet he can play and jump and do regular puppy things. He is one of the best dogs I’ve had,” Goodhue said.
High school student, Ella Brock, also helps train Duval. It is her first time training a service dog.
“We socialize him, take him to obedience classes, and give him a lot of love,” Brock said.
Brock is so proud of this little pup, just like she’s proud of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I’m very proud of how far Duval’s come at only 5 months old and Duval will be watching the Jags on Saturday,” she said.
Canine Companions’ assistance dogs are provided to those in need, free of charge.
Donations, grants, and special events cover the costs that come with training.
If you’re interested in donating, you can visit the website.
There are more than 500 people nationwide on the waitlist to become a “puppy raiser.” If you’re interested in becoming a puppy raiser, you can email canine.org or you can visit the Canine Companions website.