On July 4th, Canine Companions for Independence turned 38 years old. Since our founding in 1975, 4,185 assistance dogs have been placed with adults and children with disabilities. While many things have changed in the nearly four decades since we first opened our doors, our dedication to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities has not.
We continue to provide our assistance dogs and all follow-up services free of charge to our graduates
Among those who benefit from our services are wounded Veterans. Canine Companions continues to give back to those who gave so much by providing Veterans with our highly trained asistance dogs. One such veteran is Gabe, who was injured during his second deployment to Afghanistan and consequently lost both of his legs. Less than three months later, Gabe was walking, but still needed help. That's where Canine Companions service dog Wonka came in. Gabe graduated with Service Dog Wonka. Today, Wonka picks items up that Gabe drops, retrieves Gabe's prosthetic legs, and is there to cheer Gabe up. According to Gabe, Wonka is the foundation of the Marines – "Mission Accomplishment." He'll always be there for Gabe to accomplish the mission.The four types of Canine Companions assistance dogs – Service, Skilled Companion, Facility and Hearing open doors of new opportunities for our graduates. Allf five of our centers will hold two weeks of Team Training, beginning August 5. The week of August 4 is International Assistance Dog Week.With more than 1,850 active graduate teams today, we continue our mission of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs (Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and a cross of the two breeds) and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. The trainining staff at our five centers, located in Santa Rosa, California, Oceanside, California, Delaware, Ohio, Medford, New York and Orlando, Florida are preparing the next assistance dogs for veterans like Gabe, children like Bridget who is quadriplegic and adults like Nancy who has Multiple Sclerosis. Our five centers will host at least two more Team Training classes and graduation ceremonies before the end of the year. We encourage you to attend a graduation if you live near one of our five regional training centers.By supporting Canine Companions for Independence, you're enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. Thanks to you, we provide the gift of independence. To learn more about Canine Companions and how you can help, or inform someone who may benefit by having one of our assistance dogs, please visit us at cci.org.
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National Director of Development Services