Service dogs graduate Friday at Universal

Universal hosts graduation ceremony for service dogs

ORLANDO, Fla. – A new class of service dogs graduated from training on Friday and to help people with disabilities.

Twenty dogs, trained by Canine Companions for Independence, were honored during a graduation ceremony Friday morning at Universal Orlando Resort Animal Actors on Location Theatre.

"You know, it's just magical," three-time puppy trainer Katie Seymour said. "Dogs will put their heads on somebody's lap and bring their blood pressure down, and help them calm down and feel loved. It's a simple thing, but it's really profound."

Seymour was at Universal with her 18-month-old lab-golden retriever to mark matriculating into the final portion of training.

Canine Companions for Independence trains the pups to perform more than 40 commands to help children, veterans and adults with disabilities, according to its website CCI.org.

A dozen of the dogs will be paired with individuals with hearing impairments, according to Universal Orlando.

The dogs are given to humans in need at no cost to them.

"We are thrilled that Universal Orlando hosts one of our quarterly graduation ceremonies," Canine Companions for Independence southeast region executive director Bryan Williams said. "The deep dedication and tireless energy of their team members has touched the lives of many at our organization."

More than 5,500 dogs have been placed into service through Canine Companions for Independence, according to the nonprofit.


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