It’s always fun to count in dog years. How old would you be if you calculate canine years? Yikes, that could be scary! But the nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence is proud to turn 252 dog-years old this year. In 1975, the concept of an assistance dog to help people with physical disabilities was conceived. Thirty-six years later, Canine Companions assistance dogs have been provided to upwards of 3600 people, transforming lives through independence and doggie companionship.
Canine Companions was the first nonprofit to professionally train assistance dogs to help children and adults with physical disabilities. In addition, dogs are trained to assist the deaf and hard of hearing, and dogs work in facilities with groups of people in education, healthcare and courtroom settings. The specially bred Labrador and Golden Retrievers learn over 40 commands – open doors, turn off and on light switches, pick up dropped items that are out of reach, and alert their partners to important sounds, and more.
Canine Companions assistance dogs serve a range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, autism and Down’s Syndrome. Plus, they’ve been providing assistance dogs to soldiers wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan war through the Wounded Veterans Initiative, offering something no physical therapy or treatment can match: constant companionship and a battle buddy!
The highly trained dogs take two years to prepare and are provided free of charge by Canine Companions, thanks to donations received from individuals and corporations.
About Canine Companions for Independence:
Canine Companions for Independence is the largest non-profit provider of trained assistance dogs with five regional training centers across the country. Established in 1975, Canine Companions provides highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and on-going follow-up services. For more information, visit cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.