Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a non-profit that changes the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with a highly trained assistance dog. Since 1975, they have been fine-tuning their process to give people with disabilities the best furry companion possible, to help gain independence back in their life. CCI’s training program has given them worldwide recognition. Not only that, they are also the largest provider of assistance dogs worldwide, at no cost to the recipients.
The Journey from Puppy to Assistance Dog
A lot goes into the making of the perfect, well-tempered, and trained assistance dog for CCI. Advanced matching techniques are used during the breeding process to create the best offspring for this program. The breeders raise the puppies till eight weeks old, and then weans them from their moms. The pups then move onto a volunteer puppy raiser.
The puppy raisers teach them dog obedience and socialize them with people, pets, and noisy distracting places for the next 13-16 months. After, they’re ready for six months of coaching at one of the five Canine Companion Regional Training Centers. These centers teach 40 specialized commands for four types of dogs: Service Dogs, Skilled Companions, Hearing Dogs and Facility Dogs.
Receivers & Canine Companions Coming Together
Recipients don’t take their new companion home right away. They undergo a two week training program together. This time together allows both of them to get use to one another and to teach the recipient proper handling and caring techniques. Each recipient and his or her pooch will also go out into real life public settings to learn how to work together there.
After the two weeks are up, both are ready to graduate and go home together. They will return 6 weeks later for final testing, and will intermittently return for workshops and seminars.
Helping Veterans Gain Their Independence Back One Dog at a Time
CCI also works with the Wounded Veterans Initiative to supply US veterans with assistance canines. Some veterans can only do a few tasks by themselves when they return from combat. Many of them have lost their limbs, but have been struggling to do everything on their own or depending on family members for assistance.
Having a service dog gives wounded veterans new possibilities in their life they weren’t expecting. With their furry companion by their side, recipients are able to get around easier, and their service dogs can help them reach for items, open drawers, and much more.
Fundraising by Walking or Rolling with Dogs
As the cost of each dog averages $50,000, a lot of fundraising and donations go into making CCI a success. To raise money for all the training each dog needs, volunteer organizers put together DogFest Walk ‘n Rolls all over the country.
People are encouraged to bring their pets and service dogs to join in on the fun. Prior to the walk, there are activities for dogs and humans at every Walk ‘n Roll. Then everyone walks or rolls together; the route is completely wheelchair friendly, so no one is left out.
ePromos For Good Award Winner
For the life-changing effect Canine Companions for Independence has on so many people’s lives, ePromos has awarded $500 worth of promotional products to this nonprofit through our monthly contest, ePromos For Good. CCI will use their awarded money to purchase tri-rubber band pens and unlined spiral promotional notebooks for their graduation recipients and volunteers. They’ll be able to use them to keep ongoing notes about their dogs for monthly status updates.
There are many ways to help this heartwarming charity. To learn how you can volunteer, train a dog, or join a DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, please go to www.cci.org.