Administration: 1230 16th Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32960     •     Off Leash Dog Park: 1230 16th Avenue , Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone: (772) 567-8969    •    E-mail:     •     
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Past Events


DFL Holds First Assistance Dog Graduation Ceremony in Training Center


DFL held its first Graduation Ceremony at the DFL Administrative & Training Center that opened in July 2014, at 1230 16th Avenue in Vero Beach, Fl. "We are thrilled to have had so many distinguished guests on hand to help us celebrate" said Shelly Ferger, DFL Founder and CEO. Daniel with his hearing dog Ariel and Norine with her hearing & service dog Kelly, have completed all of the requirements of DFL and Assistance Dogs International to graduate the DFL Assistance Dog Training Program with honors. They will now be seen around town with their assistance dogs. If you want, you may ask about their dogs training, but please do not pet their dogs as this distracts them from their work. Daniel and Ariel began training in April of 2014, and have completed 69 hours of In-Home Training and 14 hours of Public Access Training. Daniel was able to take an 8 week old puppy and bring her to full Public Access Hearing Dog status. Norine and Kelly started training in June of 2014, and completed their 6 month certification in October of 2014. Norine was instrumental in helping to train her second hearing dog with DFL. The Ceremony marked Norine & Kelly's 1st year Re-Certification. Hearing dogs are trained to alert their owners to a knock at the door, the phone ringing, an alarm clock and the smoke alarm. Other sounds can be trained as needed. Service dogs are trained to assist their owners with balancing on their feet, picking up items or tapping a 911 K-9 emergency phone. Service dogs can also be trained to help someone with the effects of post-traumatic stress, such as waking from a nightmare, creating subtle barriers in crowds, and alleviating oncoming panic attacks. Other tasks can be trained to mitigate mobility and stress related issues as needed.

DFL Volunteer of the Year Awards
Held at the New Administrative & Training Center
On March 28, 2015

Assistance Dog Team
L. A. Bykowsky & K-9 Darel
Volunteer of the Year
Eleanor M. Bengyak
Media Awards Journalism Award
Mary Kemper, Veteran Voice
Digital Media Award
Sharon Morgan
Photo unavailable
Digital Media Award
Preston Orrick
Pet-Assisted Therapy Team
Ana Montoya & Oslo
Individual Philanthropist
Kathi G. Schumann
Corporate Philanthropist
Jeff & Suzy Gomez,
Coast to Coast Landscaping

Without the support of the generous people of our community, we could not save lives every day. We are so grateful to be able to use dogs, many of whom are rescued, to serve as ears, legs and best buddies for people in need. Thank you, DFL Board of Directors and Staff


DFL Annual “Build a Bridge” Bridge Tournament February 3, 2015

Eleanor Bengyak and Kathi G. Schumann hosted this annual event on February 3, 2015 in the beautiful venue provided by the Vero Beach Country Club. A delicious luncheon was served and guests had an opportunity to meet and greet various service dog teams as they walked around the room. Meanwhile, extensive arrays of silent auction items were displayed on several tables and they received quite a bit of attention. After lunch, guests enjoyed playing bridge and getting acquainted. A 50/50 raffle provided a happy winner with more than $600. Many door prizes were awarded along with gorgeous orchids provided by Kathi G. Schumann. Winners of the Silent Auction were announced as guests complimented Eleanor on the food, the prizes, and the orchids. Many said that not only was it the nicest bridge tournament they had ever attended, they would return next year for sure. Thank you all for your generous support!

This Year’s Bridge Tournament winners included:
Section A – North/South 1st Place – Merrilee Cummings and Jo Ann Becker 2nd Place – Anne Grealis and Pam Sailer 3rd Place – B. J. Clemson and Mary Jane Somers
Section A – East/West 1st Place – Louann Yates and Lyn Giuffrida 2nd Place – Mary Murnane and Priscilla Lamond 3rd Place – Sue Zabrycki and Wendy Stowe
Section B – North/South 1st Place – Mary Daly and Ginger Gibson 2nd Place – Susan Feinour and Judy Bracken 3rd Place – Jane Garr and Audrey Fetter
Section B – East/West 1st Place – Judy Balph and Louise Lambert 2nd Place – Beverly Taylor and Beverly Kinkead 3rd Place – Dell Hatten and Heidi Stott Section C – North/South 1st Place – Penny Odiorne and Ann Risinger 2nd Place – Judy Zern and Toni Cherashore 3rd Place – Sandy Johnson and Jill Benedict
Section C – East/West 1st Place – Theresa Ligon and Sally Schultz 2nd Place – Dora Churchill and Lois Rautiola 3rd Place – Shay Connors and Martha Wright

A Big THANK YOU to our Corporate Sponsors
of the 13th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pawrade October 18, 2014
Gene & Martha Schumann
DFL 2014 Howl-O-Ween Pawrade Sponsor

A Special Thank You
to the 13th Annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Costume Pawrade & Pet Expo
Sponsors – Gene, Martha and Sir Bentley Schumann.


What Howling Good Time we all had during the 13th Annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Costume Pawrade.

Thanks to Pawrade Sponsors, Gene, Martha and Sir Bentley Schumann, and Top Dog Sponsors, Florida Veterinary League along with colton, williams, list & reamy cpa, hundreds of people attended the 13th Annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Costume Pawrade & Pet Expo which was free to the public and more than 60 dogs dressed in costume participated in the “Pawrade”. A demonstration with a DFL Service Dog Team, LA & Darel, entertained the crowd with Darel’s ability to seek out tiny pieces of paper which came from exploded fireworks that were several years old.

While the public toured the new Assistance Dog Training & Administrative Center located at 1230 16th Avenue in Vero Beach October 18th, the announcement was made that a donor has made a two year commitment to help cover a portion of the costs for operations at the dog park, allowing the Board of Directors to lower the fee to a one-time $100 orientation charge. “This is a special time for us,” stated Kathi Schumann, DFL Board Member. “This signature event gives everyone in the community the opportunity to come out, have fun dressing their dogs, and see what we really do. It’s an opportunity to educate the community. Sure, everyone knows we have the Off-Leash Dog Park, but a lot of people who attended were surprised to find out that we train Hearing and Service Dogs. Most people don’t know that we are working very closely with local Veteran organizations to work with our returning war heroes who need an ADI Certified Hearing or Service Dog. We are one of only four ADI Certified Training Facilities in the State of Florida.” Kathi continued.

At the end of the day, one of the guests attending the event had lost her car keys. Those who remained to clean up searched for the keys for almost an hour. LA showed Darel a set of keys while giving him the command to “sweep” and within 30 seconds…the keys were found. “It just goes to show you that sometimes, one very special dog can do more for a person than 15 people can do,” stated Shelly Ferger, DFL Founder & CEO. “That’s what Dogs For Life is all about.”

For more information about DFL's Assistance Dog Training, Pet-Assisted Therapy Dog Training, Off-Leash Dog Park, or to make a much-needed year-end, tax-deductible donation, please contact Shelly Ferger Founder and CEO at 772-567-8969 or visit our website at

Dogs for Life Treasure Hunt & Car Rally
April 26, 2014

2014 Bridge Tournament for Dogs for Life at the
Vero Beach Country Club on
February 18, 2014

The Tournament was held on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at the Vero Beach Country club and included lunch, silent and 50/50 auctions as well as prizes for the winners! Separate games were held for Duplicate and Social Bridge players. Master points awarded.


2013 Volunteer & Donor & Appreciation
February 11, 2014
DFL Off-Leash Dog Park Memorial Garden

Dogs for Life, Vero Beach, Florida-Assistance Dog Team of the Year Award Joan with Daisy (hearing dog) Dogs for Life, Vero Beach, Florida-Volunteer of the Year Award Laura E. Bonney / LEB Printing & Design Dogs for Life, Vero Beach, Florida-Pet-Assisted Therapy Dog Team of the Year Award Shirley Schindler and Sara
Assistance Dog Team of the Year Award Joan with Daisy (hearing dog) Volunteer of the Year Award Laura E. Bonney / LEB Printing & Design Pet-Assisted Therapy Dog Team of the Year Award Shirley Schindler and Sara
Dogs for Life, Vero Beach, Florida-Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award Richard & Jane Manoogian Dogs for Life, Vero Beach, Florida-Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award Kathi G. Schumann Dogs for Life, Vero Beach, Florida-Corporate Philanthropist of the Year Award Travis Chambers - Adron Fence Company
Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award Richard & Jane Manoogian Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award Kathi G. Schumann Corporate Philanthropist of the Year Award Travis Chambers - Adron Fence Company