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Doin’ Good at the Southernmost Coast: Therapy Dogs in Hawaii

Southern Water Dogs visits the campus of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii

Ever had your socks knocked off as if they were ten sizes too big? That’s our feeling after spending time in Maui, Hawaii, at the Assistance Dogs of Hawaii main campus. You won’t believe the tricks these trainers are teaching their golden retrievers and labrador retrievers.

The lowdown on service dog training

We recently had the opportunity to tour Assistance Dogs of Hawaii’s main campus to taste a bit of the secret sauce that goes into training their service dogs. A bit sweet, a bit spicy, and entirely invigorating, their training methods produce dogs that are actively helping children, veterans, quadriplegics, paraplegics, and hospital patients whose medical plan requires an extra dose of love. These dogs aren’t just emotional support dogs; we’re talkin’ impressive, wheelchair-pullin’, guide dogs trained to delicately snuggle on command. You’ll find these impressive four legged friends at courthouses tending to children who are witnesses of crime, at hospitals softly climbing atop hospital beds to provide comfort to patients, and walking alongside the wheelchair bound to assist in pulling the wheelchair to the individual’s desired destination. And there you have it. Socks. Knocked. Off.

Love retrievers? Yeah, they do too.

As if we weren’t already obsessed with golden retrievers, seeing golden and labrador retrievers dedicate their lives to helping their owners is even more breathtaking than the first sight of daffodils pushing through snow in Spring. The dogs we met during our tour were all retrievers and showed off their snuggle commands on a demo hospital bed and wheelchair. The live demonstration absolutely blew us away.

Thought freshwater pearls were expensive? Try purchasing a service dog.

Puppies are brought to the facility for training at precisely seven weeks of age to begin a highly tested and refined training curriculum. Puppies train for approximately one to two years before passing rigorous testing to graduate from Training Academy. After a celebratory graduation ceremony, these incredibly gifted canines then train with their new owners to ensure a bonded relationship rooted in the trust of one another. Want to take a stab at how much it costs to raise and place a service dog from start to finish? A whopping $30,000 is the average investment required, but through the non-profit’s relentless fundraising efforts, applicants receive an assistance dog and lifetime follow-up support free of charge. Dang.

Raising a Hand

Like a lady whose soul has been touched during Sunday Service, we’re raising a hand to the purpose this organization is giving to these dogs. They say our happiness comes from having a purpose, a plan, a path forward, and boy do we agree when it comes to these dogs in training. We believe dogs smile, and I’ll bet you’ve never seen a dog with a smile so large as one who knows his owner is thriving, healthy, and happy.

How Southern Water Dogs is Giving Back

Our team here at Southern Water Dogs is committed to a culture of giving back, of loving our human- and fur-babies, and of experiencing a life to the fullest. In 2023, we’ll be assisting the Assistance Dogs of Hawaii by providing volunteer support using social media and paid advertising. Plus, any unsold puppies who meet the assistance dog criteria will be offered at no charge to Assistance Dogs of Hawaii and other similar organizations in the United States.

Join the Coalition

Beyond just monetary donations, there are so many ways we can assist in the success of programs like this one! 

Have you ever considered:

  • Sharing and promoting a non-profit organization through your social channels
  • Writing a positive Google Review of your experience with the organization
  • Purchasing a ticket to a fundraising event, even if you gift the ticket to an extraverted friend
  • Reading the foundational stories of non-profit founders and advocating for their stories
  • Gifting a talent you hold such as providing free services, materials, or equipment
  • Spreading the word!

No matter which way you butter your toast, there’s always something you can do to lend a hand. Got more charitable ideas for us? Send ‘em our way! Contact the team.

November 2023

We're Expecting!

Our next litter is expected to be born in mid-November 2023 with puppy visits available on Christmas Day! Apply today on

AKC Golden Retriever


Violet is a stunning light colored golden with a gorgeous coat! She is extraordinarily intelligent and consistently seeks your approval and direction. Violet has a way of staring deep into your eyes as if she can read your mind. She is a petite golden with slender composition and elegant stature. Violet is quite the lady, and is lovingly attached to her guardian family, where she lives with them at the beach. 

Health Report

  • DOB- June 13, 2021
  • AKC Registered SS27358403
  • Sire: Double K Saprky
  • Dam: Krystal Kath Alena
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: Clear
  • PRCD-PRA: Clear
  • GR-PRA 1: Clear
  • GR-PRA 2: Clear
  • Ichthyosis 1 (dandruff): Clear
  • Ichthyosis 2 (dandruff): Clear
  • NCL 5: Clear
  • OFA Hips: Good
  • OFA Elbows: Normal
  • OFA Cardiac: Normal