Canine Companions for Independence (CCI)
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
The assistance dogs we breed, raise and train aren’t just the ears, hands and legs of their human partners. They’re also goodwill ambassadors and often, their best friends. They open up new opportunities and new possibilities, and spread incredible joy. We unite people with dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence and confidence.
We train four types of assistance dogs:
Service dogs assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks.
“Mork helps me help myself. He can retrieve my phone and other dropped items, pull my wheelchair and open doors for me.”
—Wallis and Service Dog Mork
Hearing dogs alert their partners, who are deaf and hard of hearing, to important sounds.
“Thanks to Hazel, I don’t have to rely on someone to wake me up. I am less dependent on my family now.”
—Karen and Hearing Dog Hazel
Facility dogs work with clients with special needs in a visitation, education, criminal justice or health care setting.
“Sherlock allows many children to surprise themselves into doing things they might never have had the courage to try!”
—Kristen and Facility Dog Sherlock
Skilled companions enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.
“He has really changed my life and I like showing people how he helps me.”
Canine Companions breeds Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and a cross of the two to be assistance dogs. Volunteers care for our breeder dogs and nurture newborn puppies for eight weeks. Canine Companions puppies spend the next 14-18 months with volunteer puppy raisers who provide basic obedience training, socialization and care.
Canine Companions has several basic pre-requisites for individuals who may be interested in one of our programs. Please review these questions, which are designed to help you determine whether or not to apply.
• Can you demonstrate that you would benefit from the tasks Canine Companions assistance dogs are trained to perform?
• Do you have the means and resources to manage and care for a dog? This includes feeding, grooming, exercising the dog and regular visits to a veterinarian.
• Do you believe you can be an effective leader for a dog?
• Are those who live with you willing to support your relationship with an assistance dog and comply with basic guidelines established by Canine Companions?
• Once receiving the dog, are you willing to stay engaged with Canine Companions and provide periodic updates?
• Bringing a Canine Companions assistance dog into your life is a major lifestyle change and commitment. Do you believe you are ready for this change and commitment?
If the answers to the above questions are all yes, please begin the conversation with Canine Companions by clicking here: http://www.cci.org/assistance-dogs/is-a-dog-right-for-you.html