Barks N’ Rec kicks off next week to raise funds to help train service dogs in Roanoke

The fundraiser takes place from April 18-24

The annual fundraiser is from April 18 to 24 and aims to raise money to help train a puppy to become a service dog

ROANOKE, Va. – A Roanoke organization is giving you a chance to lend a helping hand — or paw.

With your furry friend by your side, you can participate in Saint Francis Service Dogs’ annual ‘Barks and Rec’ fundraiser.

From April 18-24, you can partake in any activity you want, from hiking to running to even reading a book.

The goal is to raise money to train and partner a service dog with a person with a disability.

The process typically takes thousands of dollars and several years to complete, with the wait list for a service dog being years long.

Executive Director of Saint Francis Cabel Youell says that Barks and Rec is for people of all abilities.

“If there is a stack of books you’ve been wanting to read or some things you’ve been needing to tackle and do, do that. Make it your challenge,” she said. “Make it anything that when you finish, you’re gonna feel really good about having accomplished something. And you’ll also have supported a great cause in a community of other people who are doing the same.”

So far, Saint Francis has raised 95% of its $60,000 goal.

You can still register to participate in Barks and Rec, or even crowdfund. Information to register and donate can be found on the Barks and Rec website.