Challenge yourself with an activity of your choice for Barks ‘n Rec week and help impact lives by providing extraordinary people with a Saint Francis Service dog


Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) — Saint Francis Service Dogs assist children and adults with disabilities by pairing them with a professionally trained service dog. In order to uphold that mission requires adequate funding.

This week offers the opportunity for the community to support that need and Saint Francis Service Dog’s mission by participating in the organization’s spring fundraiser, Barks ‘n Rec.

Lucy Gilmore and Tina and Tyler Hatcher offer insight into what your support truly means for a family with a Saint Francis Service dog and how their dogs, Beck and Palmer have aided their lives.

“She’s more than just a service dog she’s a companion and she’s just someone that’s there every day.”

Lucy Gilmore, Saint Francis Service Dog Recipient, Handler for dog Beck

“It is amazing to have a service dog that helps me take care of Tyler with all of his disabilities and it’s amazing to have him as a mom to kind of have that support and structure.”

Tina Hatcher, Third Party Handler for son Tyler’s Saint Francis Service Dog Palmer

To have a Saint Francis Service Dog is to form an incredible bond and to have assistance in every day life. The dogs are professionally trained service dogs, capable of performing many useful tasks, including going for help, picking items up, opening and closing doors, retrieving the phone, and turning lights on and off. The dogs are also carefully paired with their owners.

“Palmer knows when it’s time to go help with Tyler which is really awesome like when it’s time for him to get dressed in the morning, Palmer just follows me up the stairs. I don’t even have to ask him to come.”

Tina Hatcher, Third Party Handler for son Tyler’s Saint Francis Service Dog Palmer

Executive Director of Saint Francis Service Dogs, Cabell Youell says those that receive service dogs do not incur an expense.

“We do not charge for our dogs so in order to do what we do it’s important that we raise the money so it’s possible. It takes two years to train a Saint Francis service dog. It cost tens of thousands of dollars and we rely entirely on donations.”

Cabell Youell, Executive Director of Saint Francis Service Dogs

This is why Saint Francis Service Dog’s team is asking for the community to participate in their spring fundraiser, the more support the more people with disabilities they will be able to help and participation is quite easy!

“You pick an activity, t can be absolutely anything. You can say I’m going to walk 10,000 steps a day, I’m going to read a book, I’m going to rock in my rocking chair or whatever you want. You just register online and then you tell us what your challenge is. We would love for you to crowd fund if you’d like and get your friends to take part and support you and what are you doing for Saint Francis.”

Cabell Youell, Executive Director of Saint Francis Service Dogs

Cabell says they encourage participants to share photos of themselves with their furry friends on social media during this Barks ‘n Rec Week using the hashtag #barksnrec2021 to increase awareness. There’s a $25.00 registration that includes an event t-shirt, a bandana for your furry friend, and eligibility to win Barks ‘n Rec rewards and prizes.

Want to get in on the fun? click here, make a fundraising page and start sharing awareness with your photos! Your participation can truly change lives.

“I would highly encourage anybody to go to Saint Francis Service Dogs website donate or get your pup out there and do something yourselves. If you could see what Palmer has done in our lives it would be so easy for you to get up and do something.”

Tina Hatcher, Third Party Handler for son Tyler’s Saint Francis Service Dog Palmer

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