Key Center School and Summit Dog Animal Assisted Instruction

Key Center School and Summit have been working together since 2012 to provide Animal Assisted Instruction to the students at Key Center. Together, we started the program to help students push beyond their barriers and find success.  This program has exceeded all our expectations!

Key Center School is a small public day school in Northern Virginia for students ages 5 to 22 with severe intellectual disabilities, multiple and severe physical disabilities, autism, and severe maladaptive behaviors. Summit Dog handler, Kris, is a retired teacher who meets each student at their own level of need and comfort.  She collaborates with staff to address specific concerns and IEP goals to allow students the ability to interact with her highly trained therapy dogs.

Many of the students are non-verbal or non-ambulatory, have severe vision or hearing impairments, do not respond to or shy away from human touch. Thankfully, we have found that students will often do things for therapy dogs that they won’t do for anyone else. They will make eye contact, they will reach farther, try harder, push their own boundaries, and surpass their own limitations. Our Key Center students face so many challenges each and every day that any small success is a triumph in our eyes.

In previous years, this program has been funded by Key Center staff, teachers, students’ families, and community donations. They have done bake sales, quilting projects, homemade dog biscuit sales, and essentially anything they can think of to fund the program. Last year’s fundraising efforts were non-existent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so this year we are very behind with our fundraising!

We are raising $5,000 to fully fund this program for another year – the 2021-2022 school year. When you click on the DONATE button, you will be redirected to Summit Dog’s PayPal account specifically created to ensure that donations are earmarked for this Key Center program. Can we count on you to help keep this program running? Every dollar helps!

Summit Dog, Inc., a 501(c)(3), non-profit (EIN: 83-1382200), so every donation is tax-deductible.

The next success for our students is just around the corner and we are so thankful to anyone who helps make this happen.  THANK YOU for your anticipated support!!!!

Click on the video to see more about our
Key Center Program

Donation Progress


GOAL = $5,000

$1887 Raised

(updated 12/06/2021)