Facts and FAQ's
- 4,251 graduate teams placed since our founding July 1975 in Santa Rosa, California
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Canine Companions for Independence?
Canine Companions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
Q. What types of assistance dogs does Canine Companions train?
Canine Companions 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.
Q. What does it cost to receive a Canine Companion?
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.
Q. How is Canine Companions funded?
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.
Q. Who is eligible to apply for a Canine Companions assistance dog?
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.
Canine Companions can only accept a limited number of applications per year. Although many individuals with disabilities are eligible and in need of an assistance dog, Canine Companions will determine and select those individuals where the tasks provided by Canine Companions highly trained dogs will be of the greatest benefit.
Q. What is the application procedure?
Visit the Apply for a Dog section of our website for more information. The applicant coordinator in your region will review your completed request and assist you throughout the application process.
Q. What are the responsibilities of the person or facility receiving a Canine Companions dog?
Each candidate must successfully complete a two-week educational course at the regional center designed to match the person and dog and to prepare them to work together successfully. Each candidate is also responsible for the proper care, feeding, housing, and medical needs of the canine. The dog must be used in the working capacity for which it was intended.
Q. What breeds of dogs does Canine Companions use?
Canine Companions uses Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and crosses of these two breeds. Most of our dogs come from Canine Companions selective breeding program. Occasionally, donated puppies are accepted if they meet the strict qualification requirements.
Q. Can you train my pet dog to be a service dog?
We do not train dogs from outside of the Canine Companions program to be assistance dogs.
Q. Where are Canine Companions dogs trained?
Canine Companions puppies are raised by volunteers who take them to puppy classes and teach them house manners and public etiquette. When they are old enough to enter our formal training program, Canine Companions dogs come to one of our five regional training centers. (see above)
Q. How long does each Canine Companions assistance dog work?
The average service life of each dog is eight years. After that time the dog is retired and will live out its golden years as a pet.