Saint Francis Service Dogs 2022 Annual Report

Upholding the Highest Standards Celebrating our ADI Accreditation

In October, just as we celebrated the incredible accomplishments of our 2022 graduating class, the team at Saint Francis was gearing up for another big milestone – our Assistance Dogs International re-accreditation! The process is vigorous and thorough, but one we are committed to on every level. “It allows us to take stock of what we are doing and look at all aspects of our organization. We want to see how we can do more and how we can do it better,” says Deborah Duerk, Director of Operations for Saint Francis. Assistance Dogs International (ADI), is a worldwide coalition of non-profits that train and place assistance dogs. ADI is recognized as the leading authority in the assistance dog industry and accredits organizations like ours who uphold the highest standards. In 2007, Saint Francis elected to undergo the accreditation process for the first time and became the only organization in Virginia at that time to hold the honor. “We voluntarily say we want to be a part of this. We want to be the best we can be. There is something compelling about that,” says Deb. The standards set forth by ADI are constantly changing and evolving as the industry does. Every five years,

all organizations go through an intense review to ensure all of those standards are being met. At Saint Francis, we aim to take it a step further. Deb says, “We often use it as a jumping off place. Everything we do is made better by adhering to and exceeding those standards.” During our re-accreditation in the fall, we showed exactly how we meet each and every guideline. All of our practices were examined closely during an on-site visit by a trained ADI assessor. By observing and interacting with our dogs and through interviews with our staff, board members, volunteers, and our partners, ADI got a full and clear picture of how we operate in every area. We are excited to share that Saint Francis Service Dogs has been granted a full five year accreditation by Assistance Dogs International. For Saint Francis, it is an accomplishment, but also a commitment to remain passionate about our mission and provide the highest quality of care and support to our dogs and the people we serve. Deb says, “It means something. We work really hard to get it and it is something to celebrate. We are really proud of it.”

To learn more, visit our website at For more information about ADI, visit


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