Local fishing competition raises money for service dogs for Chat - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local fishing competition raises money for service dogs for Chattanoogans

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Millions of people every year who need service dogs go without. That's because the years of training and high cost make them hard to obtain. Sunday morning 21 boats went out onto the water for the 3rd annual Crappie for Canines fishing tournament to help raise money for two of these dogs.

"This kind of weather, they fish in this all the time. The fish are already wet anyway," said Candi Burrows, Organizer.

These fishermen are hoping for the catch of the day with bait in hand. But the organizers are using a different kind of bait, in hopes to hook your heart on service dogs. "Training a service dog is a long and expensive process. We start with an eight week old puppy and they receive two years of training and learn over 90 different commands," said Ramona Nichols, Program Director, Goodwill Assistance Dog Academy.

Each service dog can cost the Dog Academy $25,000.

"Two years of housing, care, training," said Nichols.

And they're giving them away for free.

There is a huge need for the dogs across the country, with over seven million people going without every year.

"There's only about 500 service dogs placed in the United States annually," said Nichols. "Less than one percent of people applying for service dogs actually receive one."

But the money from this event will ensure two local Chattanoogans will get one this summer.

"To know that you had just a little bit of change in someone's life, making their life better, making them courageous," said Burrows. "It just is, it's just life changing."

The average person waits up to seven years for a service dog, with no guarantee they will receive one. The group was hoping to raise $10,000 for the goodwill assistance dog academy.

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