SANTA ROSA, Calif. – How do a handful of large service dogs, a couple of wheelchair users and a few trainers go on a fieldtrip during training? Typically, it requires some creative thinking to get adaptive equipment in place for an important outing to the hardware store or grocery store. Now, thanks to National Express, things just got a little easier for people with disabilities training to get a life-changing Canine Companions service dog – and the professional trainers responsible for teaching these task-trained service dogs.
National Express LLC, one of the nation’s premiere transportation firms, has donated six Dodge Caravans adapted for wheelchair access to Canine Companions to assist with transporting manual or motorized wheelchairs during training sessions for future service dogs. The vans will also be useful for meeting the transportation needs of clients with disabilities. “Canine Companions for Independence is an extraordinary organization of dedicated professionals and volunteers who are passionate about providing expertly trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities”, said John Elliott, CEO Emeritus, National Express and former national board member at Canine Companions. Canine Companions, the leading nonprofit provider of service dogs for people with disabilities, has six training centers nationwide in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Ohio. Each training center will receive one of these important donated vans.
“Our clients come from all over the country for two-weeks of training and need to have a vehicle. Some of our clients cannot drive a rental car or rely on public transportation,” says Paige Mazzoni, CEO at Canine Companions. “Thanks to National Express, we can serve more people with disabilities who may have been precluded from attending training due to rental car costs or an inability to drive. Now, we can support them for the first time by providing wheelchair accessible transportation.”
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence places nearly 400 expertly trained service dogs each year. Clients are partnered with a service dog after two-weeks of in-depth training. More than 6,700 service dogs have been matched with children, adults and veterans at no charge to clients.
“We are proud to donate these vehicles to assist Canine Companions in transporting clients, dogs in training, and assistive equipment to field trips and other activities,” continues Elliott “It is an honor to support this extraordinary organization.”
Learn more about Canine Companions or how you can help people with disabilities lead life with greater independence.
About Canine Companions for Independence®
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions is a national nonprofit 501(c)3 and the first and largest provider of service dogs for people with disabilities. With six training centers across the country in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Ohio, Canine Companions has placed more than 6,700 task-trained service dogs and ongoing follow up, entirely free of charge for clients. For more information, visit www.cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK (2275).
About National Express, LLC
National Express LLC (NELLC) is the North American subsidiary of National Express Group, PLC, one of the premier transportation firms in the United Kingdom. NELLC operates across 34 states and three provinces. All organizations share a strong commitment to provide the highest level of transportation safety, quality transportation, outstanding customer service and positive employee relations. NELLC’s corporate headquarters, located in Lisle, Illinois, houses the administrative and corporate support functions for the organization. Our 290+ local customer service centers (CSCs) are supported by regional operations teams located throughout North America. Learn more at nellc.com.