|May 3, 2010 | Newman's Own Funds Canine Companions|
Santa Rosa-based Canine Companions for Independence has received a $30,000 grant from the Newman’s Own Foundation to fund Canine Companions use of interpreters for Hearing Dog training and graduations. Actor Paul Newman founded Newman’s Own Foundation; it is funded by profits from a line of food products called Newman’s Own.
Canine Companions professionally trains four kinds of assistance dogs – one being Hearing Dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing. The specially bred Labrador and Golden Retrievers alert partners to key sounds by making physical contact such as nudging the leg or arm. Key sounds include a doorbell, telephone, alarm clock, someone calling a name or a smoke alarm.
Partnering with a Canine Companions Hearing Dog can increase feelings of security and self-confidence by heightening awareness of environmental sounds. After being placed in the home, the graduates “customize” the dog’s alerting pattern to their own particular environment and needs.
The highly trained dogs take two years to prepare and are provided free of charge by Canine Companions, thanks to donations received from many donors. The deaf or hard of hearing person attends a two-week team training at the Santa Rosa campus to be trained on how to best handle the dog, the sounds the dogs knows and learn how to give the seven ASL commands the dogs know for sit, stay, speak, etc.
Paul Ogden, teamed with Hearing Dog Bree says, "When I travel with Bree, people forget that I'm deaf and feel more comfortable with me. Bree helps make people feel that I am normal, like everyone else."
Interpreters are used throughout the team training to translate the instruction to the deaf and hard of hearing using sign language. Interpreters are also used extensively by Canine Companions at events and board meetings.
“Newman’s Own has funded us in other regions around the country; this is the first grant to come to the Santa Rosa Schulz Campus – where the Hearing Dog program is housed. We are proud to be selected by this wonderful company and foundation. I made sure to eat Fig Newman’s while writing the grant!” said Pat Callahan, national director of development and marketing.
Canine Companions welcomes the public to take a tour of the Jean & Charles Schulz Campus< on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am or 2pm at 2965 Dutton Avenue, Santa Rosa.
Watch interviews with hearing dog graduates on the Canine Companions website at cci.org/hearingdogs to learn more about the program or call 1-800-572-BARK.