History

Canine Companions service dog with persons hand on their back

The concept of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities began with Canine Companions for Independence in 1975 in a home office and a garage. In the 45 years since, thanks to the unparalleled generosity and dedication of our supporters, we’ve grown tremendously.

The finest assistance dog instructors staff six Canine Companions training centers across the country. These professionals possess hundreds of years of cumulative experience in both assistance dog training and instruction to people with over 65 different types of disabilities.

Canine Companions is the largest provider of assistance dogs in the world and all follow-up support is provided free of charge to recipients. Demand for our highly trained assistance dogs is ongoing and growing.

See our Growth

  • 6,741 graduate teams placed since our founding in 1975
  • 378 teams graduated in 2020
  • 367 teams graduated in 2019
  • 337 teams graduated in 2018
  • 403 teams graduated in 2017
  • 366 teams graduated in 2016
  • 309 teams graduated in 2015
  • 2,617 active graduate teams nationwide
  • 1,094 puppies currently being raised
  • 129 breeder dogs
  • 4700+ active volunteers nationwide
  • First member of Assistance Dogs International to earn full accreditation
  • Several hundred Canine Companions release dogs currently functioning in such human services roles as bomb searching, border patrol, customs, and therapy and guide dogs378