Mutts in mortarboards
Graduation is always a big deal — and for local dog lovers, a special day is coming up. The annual Assistance Dogs of the West graduation ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St. The Santa Fe-based nonprofit, which was founded in 1995, trains and provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities to help build independence, and confidence. Roughly 30 dogs a year — mostly Labradors, golden retrievers, or mixes of the two breeds — go through the process, learning at least 90 commands to help their owners. The graduation gig spotlights the time for the dogs to leave their trainers and move on to their new owners. Bring Kleenex, in other words. Tickets are $10 available from the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco St.; call 988-1234). Visit www.assistancedogsofthewest.org for more details on the organization.
Pooch and circumstance: assistance dog Jackson