Friday, November 12, 2010

Life. Unleashed. Canine Companions for Independence

You don't even have to be a softie like me for your heart to be grabbed and squeezed but good by the mere thought of this organization.  Canine Companions for Independence® provides highly-trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, free of charge. The most advanced technology capable of transforming the lives of people with disabilities has a cold nose and a warm heart.

Founded in 1975 in Santa Rosa, California, 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of this amazing organization.  In 1976 they placed their very first Canine Companions.  Today they have over 3,000 volunteers, have placed almost 3,500 Canine Companions and five regional offices.

CCI trains four types of assistance dogs:
  • Service Teams - assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks.
  • Hearing Teams - alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds.
  • Skilled Companion Teams - enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.
  • Facility Teams - work with a professional in a visitation, education or healthcare setting.
 There is no charge for a Canine Companions assistance dog. Individual participants in our program are not responsible for any of the substantial costs involved in the lengthy process of breeding, raising, and training each Canine Companions assistance dog.  A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Canine Companions is funded by private contributions from individuals; gifts from businesses, civic groups, and service clubs; grants from corporations and foundations; and ongoing fundraising activities such as special events and mailings.

People with physical or developmental disabilities who can demonstrate that a Canine Companions assistance dog will enhance their independence or their quality of life are qualified to apply. Also eligible are professionals working for organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with a facility dog.  CCI can only accept a limited number of applications per year. Although many individuals with disabilities are eligible and in need of an assistance dog, CCI will determine and select those individuals where the tasks provided by CCI's highly trained dogs will be of the greatest benefit.

For more information about Canine Companions for Indepedence visit them on the web. You'll find more information about their intensive training program, as well as how to apply for a Canine Companion.

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