Northern California Fire Update from our CEO

October 17, 2017
Yellow service dog holds keys in mouth for graduate in wheelchair

Dear members of the Canine Companions community,

While the wildfires in the area have devastated our community, the Canine Companions Schulz Campus has been extremely fortunate to have escaped with no harm. With the fires increasingly contained, campus reopened for business on Monday, October 17, and the 99 dogs in professional training will be returning to campus today, where they will resume training. Our amazing volunteers have organized the transportation of the dogs back to campus, and the car pools have been well underway since this morning. The air quality on campus continues to improve, and Dr. Kennedy and the veterinary staff will continue to monitor the air to ensure the dogs’ exposure outdoors is healthy. The Canine Early Development Center will also resume normal operation.

Noted in an update last week, while several staff and volunteers have lost their homes to the North Bay fires, all staff and the 250 volunteers and graduates living in the affected areas have been contacted and are safe.

As I reported, the Team Training class that had been underway last week was suspended for health and safety reasons. Program staff are now working hard to accommodate those nine students so that they can complete Team Training as soon as possible. Four of those students are joining the class that had already been scheduled to begin next Monday, October 23. That will bring that class size to 21 students, the largest class ever held on Schulz campus. The other five students will be attending a make-up class from November 6-17, in parallel with a scheduled Hearing Dog Team Training.

For the Team Training class that begins next week, we are working on identifying an alternate location for graduation. Because the Luther Burbank Center has been damaged by fire, it will not be operational by that date. We will publicize the new location for graduation as soon as we can.

Our volunteer puppy raisers and trainers have brought dogs to evacuation areas and to visit first responders over the past week, providing them some happy distraction and respite. Trainers will continue to coordinate these visits throughout the next few weeks, as well as coordinating similar visits to local schools. We are also planning a community open house this Friday afternoon on the Schulz Campus from 3-6pm in Gittinger Hall. This will be a time when both members of the Canine Companions community as well as those throughout the Bay Area can come, see what we do, interact with some dogs and relax.

Once again, I would like to thank all of you who have so generously offered your assistance during these fires. The actions, goodwill and selfless support that so many of you provided are simply remarkable.


Paul Mundell

Numbers for those requiring assistance:
Graduate department: 707-577-1755
Veterinary clinic: 707-577-1745
Emergency line for graduates, puppy raisers or breeder caretakers: 1-800-833-5388
The emergency line is monitored around the clock.