Service Dog Column:

DOGFEST 2022 — This is the tenth year that the Service Dog Project has had cameras covering all their action 24 hours a day. Explore.org has donated seven cameras on our farm that operate 24/7.

That means for some people it is the tenth year of watching puppies be born and trained to help people with mobility problems. 

For some people from all over the United States, it is the tenth year of spending a weekend at Service Dog Project having fun, learning about the dogs, and doing chores. The big job this year was the painting of the pig. 

From California, Oregon, Arizona, and nearly every place in between, people have come to witness firsthand the marvelous dogs and training. 

In the process, they got to meet six of the local recipients of one of our dogs, so they get to see firsthand what their donations have created. 

To most people, riding around in a trailer behind the golf cart with three Great Danes is a perfect photo op they will happily carry home.

It may be hard to fathom, but there are people who have flown 3,000 miles to enjoy a weekend of playing with Great Danes — and, of course, the picking of the poo.

They come and they smile and laugh and have a grand time meeting people that they only have known on the internet.

They gather in groups to help by doing other farm things, such as loading the hay, learning to splice rope, and harnessing a horse for the first time.

Then, to top it off, they try to ride a bicycle that has hubs that are not in the center of the wheel.

The pig got his first pink coat on Saturday off Dogfest. We brightened the details on Sunday afternoon. 

The pig was purchased from a store on Route 1A in Ipswich many years ago. It has been the Service Dog Project mascot ever since.

For those of you who are not familiar with our dogs, we do have open house every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. You can certainly meet the dogs in training at that point, and occasionally you might meet a recipient here.

We have donated over 200 dogs to people, from a six-foot, four-inch veteran to a four-foot, six-inch schoolchild. They do a wonderful job.


Carlene White is founder and president of the non-profit Service Dog Project on Boxford Road in Ipswich. She trains and raises Great Danes to donate to the mobility impaired. Read more of her columns here.


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