More than 50 dogs graduate from assistance training, give ‘unconditional love’

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Saturday was all about man's four-legged friend at UNC Wilmington. More than 50 assistance dogs and their clients gathered for a reunion rally, graduation event, and awards dinner event.

At the sixth annual reunion rally, dogs and their clients enjoyed the outdoor weather, jumping through hoops and going for walks.

The dogs are trained through the UNCW/paws4people Assistance Dog Training Program (ADTP).

Puppies begin their training at just 3 days old, according to a paws4people staffer.

Assistance dogs with paws4people primarily serve war veterans, but also help military dependents and children with disabilities.

McKenna Nelson, a paws4paws student volunteer, said completing the program taught her more than she expected.

"I've learned a lot from the staff members, especially the dogs, with patience and perseverance, and just unconditional love that the dogs give us, and also the clients and the inmates that train the dogs are all amazing," said Nelson.

To learn more about assistance dogs and the paws4people training program, visit their website.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.