|3000 Team Placement|
Canine Companions for Independence placed its 3000 assistance dog team on August 16.
||This is a milestone for CCI who has been providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support, free of charge, to adults and children with disabilities since 1975.
“Every member of the CCI community has worked together to accomplish this 3000th placement milestone. To me, the most important thing is that we have maintained and increased the excellent quality of our assistance dogs and truly enhanced the quality of life for all the recipients of our dogs,” shares Corey Hudson, CEO Canine Companions for Independence.
When 12-year-old Emily Elkins and her mom Kelly graduated from the Northwest Region in Santa Rosa, CA, they represented the 3000th CCI assistance dog placement and the Canine Companions for Independence body of work. Two other regions had graduation ceremonies that day, the Southeast Region in Orlando, FL and the North Central Region near Columbus, OH.
Emily and Kelly arrived from Portland, OR on August 4, 2008 at the Jean and Charles Schulz Campus in Santa Rosa, CA, the Northwest Regional Training Center and National Headquarters of CCI, to begin Team Training in the hopes of receiving an assistance dog.
Emily is a bright and beautiful 12-year-old girl challenged with cerebral palsy that requires her to use a wheelchair.
“I wanted a dog to help me open the refrigerator and other doors,” explains Emily.
Her mom Kelly expands, “We knew that having an assistance dog would increase Emily’s independence and also act as a social bridge for her as she enters junior high.”
Never having been a “dog person”, Kelly wasn’t sure what to expect from their experience at CCI or from assistance dogs.
“Everything, person and dog at CCI has exceeded my expectations,” shares Kelly.
“The instructors are incredible. Each person here needs distinctively different help from their assistance dogs, and the instructors have matched each student with the perfect dog for them,” says Kelly.
The perfect assistance dog for Emily is Jacklyn, a beautiful black Labrador and golden retriever cross. Jacklyn was raised by volunteer puppy raiser Suzanne McClary of Roseville, CA and born in the home of volunteer breeder caretaker Iris Wait in Santa Rosa, CA.
Emily and Jacklyn's Team Training was sponsored by Merial LTD. Merial senior sales representative, Loren Poncia presented a plaque to twelve-year-old graduate Emily Elkins as she and her new assistance dog Jacklyn represented the 3000th graduate team.
“Merial the makers of Frontline Plus and Heartgard Plus are very proud to support CCI and to help make a difference in the lives of the graduates and their companions,” says Loren Poncia, senior sales representative, Merial LTD.