Bringing a Service Dog on International Travel

Over the years, airlines have had issues with untrained dogs causing incidents on flights such as biting, having accidents, and other issues that put the health and safety of passengers, crew, and highly trained, appropriate service animals at risk.

As a result, the Transportation Department enacted stricter regulations on what they consider a service animal. They have tightened this definition to only include service animals, excluding emotional support animals. Only service dogs are permitted to fly as service animals and any companion used for emotional support is not protected. Passengers can still fly with their pets, but they must pay a pet fee and check them into the cargo hold if they wish to fly with them.

Flying with your service animal takes a certain amount of preparation to ensure it goes smoothly. At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we’ve gathered our top tips to help you make travelling with your service dog safe and easy.

Preparing Your Service Dog to Fly Within the United States

A major factor when flying with your service dog is their bathroom habits. Depending on where you are traveling within the States, your dog may need to hold their bathroom for five hours or more. You will have to regulate their bathroom habits to ensure they can hold it for the duration of the flight.

Your service dog should use the bathroom before you enter the airport and should be capable of using the pet relief stations in the airport to ensure they are ready to board and can hold their bathroom for the duration of the flight. They have no concept of how long they will need to hold it, but you do, so be sure they can go potty on command and relieve themselves prior to boarding your flight. At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, these are all things we teach service dogs to do so that are prepared to fly.

In addition, you need to notify the airline that you are flying with your service dog at least 48 hours prior to your flight. There is paperwork you will need to fill out. This process can take time since many airlines are now utilizing a third-party verification service where they will call the organization you got your service dog from to verify that it is a trained service dog.

It is critical that you don’t just show up at the airport with your service dog expecting to get on a flight. With the new rules surrounding flying with animals, it will not happen without the official paperwork and verification.

Can I Fly Internationally with My Service Dog?

When it comes to flying internationally with your service dog, it can become complicated. At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we do not encourage international travel for our paired teams. This is because when you travel internationally, you are not protected by the same laws for people with disabilities that have a service dog as you are in the U.S.

Another issue is lack of education about service dogs and the confrontation that may result. While these issues sometimes arise in the United States, they are even more prevalent in other countries where they are not required to follow our laws regarding service dogs.

Some countries don’t have any service dog laws protecting people with them or they have their own laws that may differ from those in the U.S. Even in countries that do have laws protecting service dogs, there is often a lack of education on the matter, and it becomes very difficult to navigate.

A major risk of international travel with your service dog is if you encounter a country that doesn’t allow service dogs public access. You may then be forced to place them in a kennel somewhere that you know nothing about. This could put the health and well-being of your service dog at risk.

International travel also presents the issue of food. You must consider how you will transport enough food to sustain your service dog. Depending on how much your dog eats and how long you will be gone, you could be looking at travelling with a very heavy suitcase. Water in other countries will also differ from what your dog is used to. This can lead to GI upset and if your dog gets sick, you have no way of knowing if their veterinarians can provide them with the proper level of care.

Another concern for your service dog is vaccines. Other countries may not regulate vaccines for their dogs, or your dog could be attacked by a stray animal who is not vaccinated. In another country, your service animal can also be exposed to disease or parasites that could lead to extreme illness.

For international travel, your service dog must also be prepared to hold their bathroom for 8 to 12 hours. Many international flights are at least eight hours depending on where you are travelling to. There is not always a layover on an international flight and even if there is, you could end up in an international airport where there is nowhere for your dog to relieve itself.

Keep in mind that dog relief stations are a U.S. accommodation.

Can I Travel with My Service Dog on a Cruise Ship?

If you are planning to go on a cruise with your service dog, there are several things you should consider before making that commitment. Like flying internationally, cruise ships oftentimes do not sail under the American flag. They are sailing under other countries who have regulations different from the U.S., which can lead to issues when travelling with your service dog.

Before going on a cruise, you would need to make sure there are areas on the ship available where your dog can relieve himself. You also need to consider that many cruises are going to a tropical destination that is hot, so your dog would not be able to stay out on the deck when you go to the pool, but they could go to the restaurants and shows. If that’s what you are interested in during your time on the cruise, then that may be fine for your service dog.

During the cruise, your ship will be stopping at multiple ports along the way for off-ship excursions. If you are with your service dog, it is not likely you will be able to participate in off- ship activities. This is because, many other countries do not follow the same rules and regulations the U.S. does for service dogs. As mentioned in the previous section, even if you can take your service dog with you to certain places in other countries, you risk your service dog being attacked by another dog or animal or contracting a disease or parasite.

This is why we do not typically recommend international travel or cruises to our recipients to ensure their safety and the safety of their service dog. When you are paired with a service dog, it is life-changing in many ways. If you are an avid traveler and enjoy international travel or take cruises often, then a service dog may not be the best fit for your lifestyle. Once you are paired with a service dog, they are a permanent part of your life and should be with you at all times. We want you to enjoy life to the fullest with your service dog, but there are certain lifestyle changes that may be required to ensure the safety of your service dog.

Have Questions About Traveling with Your Service Dog? Contact Us Today!

If you have any questions about traveling with your service dog, we would be happy to help you! Contact us today to learn more.

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs has announced they are breaking ground on their Pennsylvania Campus. This campus will bring the organization’s mission to help those with permanent disabilities to the northeast region of the United States.

The new state-of-the-art campus will cover 102 acres, with one hundred acres in Washington County, McDonald, and two in Allegheny County. It will be located twenty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, ten minutes from the airport, and run along the Montour Trail. (more…)

Airport security is necessary for any trip, but when traveling with your service dog, there are a few things to consider. Service dogs under federal law, says they can go anywhere the public can, including the airport.

By preparing your service dog in advance and completing all the appropriate paperwork, you can help make your flying process more manageable and less stressful.

Does My Service Dog Need Identification to Fly?

Even though federal law states that a service dog is not required to have identification such as a leash, harness, or bandana that says that it is a service dog, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs requires all our teams wear their vest. By making it easy for airport staff and others to identify your service dog quickly, you can help avoid any confrontations or issues that may arise.

It is critical to understand that there are only two legal questions the airline staff can ask you about your service dog. They can ask:

Is this a Service Dog? The answer would be “yes”. Remember the laws that define a service dog says it must perform a task or tasks that mitigate the challenges of a disability. If your dog is only for emotional support, he/she would not qualify.

What does your service dog do for you? If you are asked this question, you do not have to tell them your medical condition as your medical information is protected by HIPPA law. If you want to disclose your disability, that’s your choice, but it is not required. We suggest you answer this question as follows:” My service dog is trained to alert to my medical condition” or “My service dog is a mobility dog, a hearing impairment dog, or a visual impairment dog”. Please don’t feel pressured to disclose your disability because it is not legally required but you must be prepared to tell what task your dog is trained to perform for you.

What Am I Required to Do to Fly with a Service Dog?

It is essential to understand that airlines are an executive branch of the government under the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT is not bound by the federal ADA service dog laws, but they have created regulations that mirror those laws.

The airlines found it necessary to create additional rules and required paperwork motivation due to irresponsible dog owners causing terrible incidents on planes where the dog was not trained appropriately. This led to dogs that were terrified and uncomfortable because they lacked proper training and socialization. These dogs were unprepared to be in a very small space with strangers who wanted to pet them resulting in people being bitten and injured, ultimately leading to the dog owners being sued as well as the airlines.

With these issues, airlines had to find a way to avoid these problems and protect their passengers and staff. Thus, they created guidelines for distinguishing between inappropriate and appropriate dogs. In many cases, airlines will not allow emotional support dogs to fly. However, they allow service dogs to fly at no extra charge. Service dogs are treated like a cane or wheelchair, which a person would not be charged for flying with.

Most airlines have created paperwork that needs to be filled out to confirm that the service dog is adequately trained. This paperwork should be filled out and submitted at least a few days before your flight. This paperwork is designed to protect you and your service dog by preventing you from encountering inappropriate dogs that could cause problems or even pose a threat to your service dog and the people on your flight.

What is My Service Dog Required to Do on the Flight?

The dog is required to lie on the floor at your feet, which, of course, is a limited amount of room. This is where prior training is crucial, so he/she is prepared to lay in a small space quietly for the length of the flight. The dog should also not be barking or lunging at people, acting aggressively, or presenting any type of safety risk. If the dog does become restless, it is crucial that you get the dog under immediate control. At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, our dogs undergo extensive training to adapt to these situations, allowing you to travel freely and safely.

Can I be removed from the Flight Because of My Service Dog?

If the service dog is posing a public safety threat, he/she can be denied access to the flight. For example, suppose it is lunging, growling, or barking at people the airline has the right to deny you service for the safety of the other passengers. If the dog is barking at the recipient as an alert, this is not a threat.

If the airline you are flying with requires advanced paperwork and you fail to submit it, they can refuse service for not following their guidelines. This is not only to help ensure the safety of the airline and its passengers, but you and your working dog as well, to prevent inappropriate dogs potentially causing you harm.

Tips for Preparing Your Service Dog for Flying

Book Your Airline in Advance

This will give you time to research the airline requirements, such as advance paperwork, and will also provide you with time to check their amenities for your service dog, such as doggie relief stations, so that you can plan potty breaks accordingly.

Be sure you have worked your dog into a bathroom schedule that will accommodate the flight times.

Practice Certain Tasks/Situations

Ensure your dog has practice getting into small spaces and lying down for long periods such as the intended length of the flight. Make sure your dog is probably socialized, desensitized, and trained to deal with these situations. Because a proper service dog should be invisible, it should be as invisible as possible unless it’s performing a function.
Your service dog should be able to go right onto the plane, lay down at your feet, and fly the entire distance, mostly unnoticed. If your dog is not at that level, you probably need more time to be ready to fly with them.

How to Prepare at the Airport

Make sure your dog has gone potty before you go through security. Most airports have doggy relief stations, so be sure your dog potties one more time before you get on the plane. They don’t know how long they will be on the plane when they have the urge to go, therefore it needs to be addressed in advance.
The dog should also enter the boarding waiting area with you and lie down to wait to get on the plane.

Have Questions About Flying with Your Service Dog? Contact us today!

At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about flying with your service dog. Contact us today to learn more!

Hired in July of 2023, Lucy Barnes brought her passion for helping others and her fundraising and donor relations skills to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. (more…)

While watching Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs grow over the past 13 years, I have visualized for several of those years how to do things better, thus leading us to building a state-of-the-art campus. (more…)

At times, restaurant owners may feel uncertain about how to handle situations in which a disabled individual with a service animal wishes to enter the premises. It is essential for every business owner to understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to allowing animals into their establishment.

What is a Service Dog?

Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as any dog that has been trained to perform specific tasks to mitigate the challenges of an individual’s disability. Therapy dogs, emotional support dogs, and companion dogs are not protected under the ADA and have no public access rights.
If someone is accompanied by a service animal into your restaurant, it is important to remember that this animal is not a pet; it is a medically essential part of the individual’s daily life and should be treated as such. Service dogs are permitted access to all public spaces.
The only exceptions would be sterile environments like a surgery room or places where their health could be affected like an x-ray room. Service dogs should not be taken to certain zoos exhibits, where their presence could stress out the animals.

Am I Required to Allow a Service Animal into My Restaurant?

Under the ADA, restaurant owners must legally allow service animals into their establishments. This means that you cannot refuse entry to a person with a service dog based on your own personal beliefs or your concerns for health and food safety rules.

Additionally, denying access or charging extra fees for customers with service animals can result in legal penalties. You cannot segregate the person and their service dog to a specific place in the restaurant. They should be treated like any other customer when entering your establishment.

Restaurant owners do not have to change the normal function and flow of their restaurant for a person with a service dog. A recipient of a service dog is not allowed to ask the restaurant to accommodate them.

Can I Ask for Identification or Certification for the Service Dog?

By federal law, there is no required certification or identification for a service dog. They don’t have to wear service dog harnesses, bandanas, or anything to indicate they are a service dog. However, at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we require our service dog teams always have their vest on in public. This is done to avoid confrontation or any other issues when venturing out into public, but it is not legally required.

As a restaurant owner, it is important to remember that you are not allowed to ask for details about the individual’s disability or require proof of certification for their animal. Remember that not all disabilities are visible.

You can legally ask these two questions:

  1. Is this a service dog?
  2. What tasks does this dog perform for you?

When Can a Restaurant Owner Deny Access to a Service Dog?

If the animal’s behavior is disruptive or poses a risk to your customers or staff, you have the right to deny access. If the dog is trying to steal food, jumping at wait staff or guests, barking, growling, soiling, etc. and the handler can’t calm the dog, then it is appropriate for the restaurant owner to ask the person to remove the service dog from the business. They cannot be removed because someone may be afraid of dogs, they don’t like dogs or have allergies to dogs.
In some cases, business owners may feel uncomfortable with the presence of an animal in their restaurant. This is a valid concern; however, it is important to remember that allowing access to individuals with service animals not only ensures compliance with the law but also promotes inclusion and respect for all customers and employees.
Being informed about your rights as a restaurant owner regarding service dogs is the key to creating a safe, welcoming atmosphere for all. If you are ever in doubt about how to handle a situation involving someone accompanied by a service animal, it is best to consult an attorney who specializes in disability law.

Tips for Recipients When Entering a Restaurant

As mentioned above, recipients should keep in mind that they cannot be denied entry to a restaurant. You also need to remember that you can’t request special accommodations from the business.

Be sure your service dog is wearing their vest and that they lay down under the table or out of the way for foot traffic for other guests and wait staff. Your service dog should never be allowed up on a chair or in the booth. They should remain lying down under the table or close to you to ensure they do not cause a disruption. You should never be feeding them from the table or allowing them to sniff at the table or anyone else’s table.

Finally, remember that if your service dog becomes disruptive in any way, you should take the necessary steps immediately to ensure there will be no further issues. It is important to remember that your service dog should be with you at all times. Guardian Angels has a one-foot rule, meaning your service dog should never be more than a foot away from you. This ensures that he/she isn’t bothering any other patrons, sniffing the floor looking for crumbs, and that he is remaining attentive to you.

If your service dog, for some reason, becomes disruptive, the business owner can legally ask you to exit the restaurant, which should be done without confrontation. It is essential that you always keep your service dog under control.

Have Questions About Service Dogs? We Can Help!

Restaurant owners and recipients should understand their rights and responsibilities regarding access to businesses. It is important for everyone involved to be informed about what is expected when entering a public venue, as well as how to handle any issues that may arise.

By keeping these key points in mind, restaurant owners can ensure they comply with the law while creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for everyone. This helps create inclusive spaces where all people feel comfortable and welcomed.

If you have questions about your rights as a business owner or a recipient, contact Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs today!

Wren San Clemente has been a trainer at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs for a year, but her passion for training animals has been a part of her life since she was young. (more…)

…from Pirates Pup to Super Service Dog

In 2021, the Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC teamed up to sponsor the training of a medical service dog for a veteran in need. The Pirates became the first professional baseball organization to team up with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs for this cause.

In a public social media contest, Pirates fans worldwide chose the name Bucco for this all-black German Shepherd puppy, destined to change a life forever.

Since that time, little Bucco has worked really hard, training everyday with the trainers at Guardian Angels. He’s learned all the basic commands, like sit, stay, and heel plus a myriad of special skills that normal dogs don’t do, such as being trained as a scent detection dog to alert of chemical changes within his recipients’ body, that may cause a negative medical impact, allowing the recipient to take corrective action prior to any health episode.

He’s also worked really hard to keep up with his Bucco fans, and is quite the social media Supaw-star, with over 3,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 2,000 fans on Instagram! Last week, he made several appearances at PNC Park to watch his teammates play and win.

Bucco’s made several lasting memories with his Pirates’ team and fans. Here are a few of his special moments:

Visiting the field with his Dad on Father’s Day

Hanging out with Pirates Legend, Manny Sanguillen

Holding his very own Paw-ress Conference

Visiting one of PNC’s Grow Up Great centers with the Parrot & Pirates players

and, of course, meeting all the fans!

Here’s a little secret that few people know – Bucco’s very best friend is the Pirate Parrot! These two were best buds from the start and we’re sure they’ll keep in touch.

The best news is that Bucco has completed his training, passed all his classes, and has just met his person. While Bucco is a little bummed about leaving his teammates and retiring his No.1 jersey, he is excited to fulfill his mission in life, ensuring that his recipient is well taken care of! Although Bucco has had a very friendly and public training period, it’s important for people to remember that, once he’s paired with his new person, people should no longer approach or interact with him, unless given explicit permission by his new handler, so that his full focus can remain on his recipient.

Bucco will have a rockstar sendoff from his baseball career as he is paired on the field with his new teammate for life, David, on September 4th at PNC Park. David was an Army medic assigned to the First Infantry during Vietnam and has struggled for years. We know that Bucco is going to be the difference in beginning a beautiful #NewNormal for David.

Please join us in congratulating the Pirates, Bucco and David!

If you have a disability and rely on a service dog to complete daily tasks, you may be wondering how to navigate the workplace with your service dog. At Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we’ve developed a guide to help make this transition smooth.

Can I Bring My Service Dog to Work?

Before you take your service dog to work, consider what your job is and what duties you perform daily. If you’re driving a forklift or working on an assembly line, there are moving parts and other situations that can be dangerous for a dog.

Other careers like welding or being a delivery driver could also present hot, undesirable conditions for your service dog. Even if you are an insurance salesman or other type worker such as an AC repair technician, where you will be visiting people’s homes, may not be ideal for your service dog. If you work in an office setting, then that should be a good environment to bring your service dog.

Before coming to work with your service dog, you want to make sure your boss understands that you are requesting a “special accommodation”. When asking for a special accommodation, it may spark worry in your employer about what exactly that may mean, whether they will need to have a special space for you, do special things for you, and whether it may cost the company money. They may also wonder if it will change the way their business functions. The answer is -no. The business is not required to do anything special to accommodate you with your service dog. Asking for a special accommodation simply means that you’re requesting to bring dog work with you because he is your medical equipment for your medical condition. By law, this request cannot be denied.

Do I Have to Show Paperwork?

There isn’t any legal need for specific paperwork, but some employers may ask. You can fill out their requested paperwork if they aren’t asking you any personal questions since your medical information is protected under HIPAA. If you have a problem with the questions on the paperwork, you can check with the EEOC or your state disability services to be sure the questions are appropriate.
If you need a letter for your employer stating your need for a service dog just to prevent any confrontation or misunderstandings, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs can assist you with that.

We are always available to assist you. We believe in taking the course of least resistance and educating employers rather than creating distention.

Tips for Helping Your Dog Adjust to Your Job

The most important thing you need to do is make sure your dog is comfortable. Make sure he has water, a few toys, a bed, and any other items to help him feel comfortable throughout the day. During the day, you will need to be cognizant of your service dogs needs. Take him/her out on your breaks and use your lunch hour to take him out to play. This will ensure he gets necessary exercise rather than just sitting there all day.

Also, be sure to continue to complete your job as normal and follow the protocols of your business. Of course, at first, people will want to meet the dog and ask you questions but be sure to keep boundaries. Your boss will really appreciate you preventing your service dog’s presence from becoming a social hour.

Make sure fellow employees understand that your dog is only there to provide service to you, the recipient.

Want to Learn More About Service Dogs? Contact us Today!

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, one the of the largest non-profits for service dogs, serves as a resource for those in need of a service dog. Visit our website today to learn more!

Are you someone who loves dogs, supports our veterans, first responders, and civilians in need, and wants to make a difference in the community? Then you’ll want to create a fundraising team for Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs’ Community Mutt Strut!

By creating a fundraising team, you can help raise funds to support Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs’ mission and make a positive impact on the lives of both service dogs as well as veterans, first responders, and civilians in need.

Why Create a Fundraising Team for the Community Mutt Strut?

By creating a fundraising team for the Mutt Strut, you’ll be making a real difference in the lives of veterans and their families. Service dogs can be incredibly helpful for veterans who are struggling with physical or emotional difficulties, and by raising funds for Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, you’ll be helping to provide these dogs to those who need them.

Additionally, creating a fundraising team is a great way to raise awareness and vital funding for a great cause!

How to Create a Fundraising Team for the Mutt Strut

Creating a fundraising team for the Mutt Strut is easy! The first step is to register as a team captain on the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs website. Once you’ve done that, you can recruit other team members by sending invitations to friends, family, and colleagues via social media, email, or word of mouth.

It’s worth mentioning just how impactful your fundraising efforts can be. Each service dog trained and paired with a veteran costs approximately $25,000 to $30,000 in training and placement. By coming together as a community and raising funds for Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we can help provide this much-needed support to those who have served our country.

All funds raised by the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Community Mutt Strut Fundraising Teams will go directly towards training and pairing service dogs with veterans.

Bring Your Team to the Mutt Strut!

In addition to creating a team, you can attend the Community Mutt Strut itself. The event will be held on September 16th at the Great Lawn on the North Shore. This event is a fun-filled day that includes a picturesque walk, music, pet-related vendors, dog agility demonstrations, and more! Come out and see first-hand the impact these amazing service dogs make on the lives of veterans.

You can register for the Mutt Strut by clicking here or coming down to the Great Lawn on the North Shore on the day of the event.

If you can’t make it to Pittsburgh, join us for the virtual Mutt Strut from September 13th – 16th, where you can bid on various great items, purchase a virtual ticket to the Mutt Strut or make a donation to show your support!

Create a Team to Make an Impact Today!

Creating a fundraising team is a fantastic way to make a difference in the lives of both service dogs and their recipients. By establishing a team, you can support the vital mission of our non-profit organization and have a lot of fun in the process.

So what are you waiting for? Register as a team captain today and start making a positive impact on veterans and your community!

PNC Bank, Pittsburgh Pirates Unite for the Annual Community Mutt Strut Benefiting Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs
[PITTSBURGH Aug. 08, 2023] — Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs announced the Annual Community Mutt Strut, presented by PNC Bank and sponsored by the Pittsburgh Pirates, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Great Lawn on the North Shore. This event brings together dog lovers, supporters and community members for a day of fun, entertainment and education in support of Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs and its life-changing work.

The Community Mutt Strut aims to raise awareness about the impact of medical service dogs in the lives of those living with disabilities, with a focus on U.S. military veterans and first responders.

This year’s event will feature a scenic dog-friendly walk, pet dog trick demonstrations, a dog costume contest, pet-related vendors, live music by local Southern classic rock band Shady Mugs, food trucks and activities for the whole family.

“We’re thrilled to once again host the Community Mutt Strut, and we’re especially grateful for the support of PNC Bank and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who share our dedication to improving the lives of those in need through the unique bond between humans and canines,” said Carol Borden, founder and CEO of Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs.

Statistics show approximately 22 military veterans die by suicide each day, and the COVID-19 pandemic only heightened this crisis. Once paired with a Guardian Angels Medical Service Dog, the suicide rate in recipients drops to zero.

“PNC is honored to once again join forces with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs for this meaningful event,” said Stacy Juchno, general auditor for PNC. “We’ve seen firsthand how this work changes lives as many of our employees and those in our communities have benefited from pairing with medical service dogs. We look forward to ushering in the next chapter of the Community Mutt Strut in Pittsburgh with terrific organizations like the Pirates.”
As part of the Pirates’ sponsorship, the Pirates are offering a group ticket option for that evening’s game that includes Loaded Value and a donation to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs. The Pirates play the New York Yankees at 6:35 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16. All are welcome to purchase tickets, whether or not they are attending the Community Mutt Strut.

“The Pirates are continually committed to making a lasting, positive impact to individuals in our community, and we’re proud to do that by joining our partner, PNC Bank, in support of Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs for such a worthwhile event,” said Travis Williams, president of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that has been training and pairing medical service dogs with individuals in need since 2010. These highly skilled dogs are trained to mitigate the challenges of an individual’s disabilities while providing companionship and support, helping them regain their independence and enhance their quality of life.

Participants and supporters of the Community Mutt Strut can register online at or in-person on the day of the event. All proceeds will benefit Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs and its ongoing mission to train and provide medical service dogs to those in need.

For more information about Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs and the Community Mutt Strut, including the online silent auction taking place from Sept. 13-16, please visit the Community Mutt Strut website or the Facebook event page.

About the Pittsburgh Pirates

Now in their 137th National League season, and 141st overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lasting and deep commitment to the Pittsburgh region that continues to grow stronger each season. The Pirates celebrate a rich history filled with five World Series Championships, legendary players and some of baseball’s most dramatic games and moments. The Pirates continue to build upon that rich history with an exciting, young team playing its home games at PNC Park, widely considered the Best Ballpark in America. While the organization has led countless community endeavors since its inception, the Pirates formed Pirates Charities in 2006 to make an even deeper, positive impact on the lives of others.

About PNC Bank

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit

About Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to training and providing medical service dogs for individuals living with disabilities, with a focus on U.S. military veterans and first responders. With an emphasis on enhancing the lives and independence of their recipients, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs has successfully paired hundreds of dogs with deserving individuals, making a positive impact on families and communities across the nation.

Whether you have a service dog or a pet, their health and well-being are always at the heart of what you do. From feeding a healthy diet to ensuring they get enough exercise, we all make efforts to care for our service dogs or pets each day to ensure a long and happy life.


Samantha, a Veterinary Technician at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, has been with the team for seven months and has over 10 years of experience in the animal field as a veterinary technician, wildlife rehabilitator, educator, and client liaison. (more…)

Aron, a Marine Corps veteran, was given a new lease on life when he was paired with his service dog Allie. In July 2023, they reached their “Pairaversary,” celebrating one year together. Allie has made many amazing changes in Aron’s life and continues to teach him something new every day. (more…)

When it comes to training service dogs for our recipients at Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, we only choose the best, which is why we work mainly with German Shepherds.
This breed is highly intelligent and has an extremely sophisticated sense of smell, also known as an olfactory system, which they rely on heavily to complete many of their tasks for their recipient. They also love being with their person and having a job, making them a great choice as a working dog for our recipients. (more…)

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