2020 was a year none of us will forget, filled with previously unimaginable challenges. Even with our campuses closed, Canine Companions® dogs trained in the homes of staff for several months, we hosted socially-distanced Team Training classes, and we graduated an incredible 362 teams nationwide – just five fewer than 2019. For Canine Companions, the difficulties of the pandemic have served as lessons that have made us stronger. The most important of these is the incredible power of community.
Again and again throughout the year, the Canine Companions staff was humbled by our community’s dedication to our mission. It’s not just 362 individuals whose lives will be changed – each team has family, friends, colleagues and clients who are touched by the power of the human-canine bond and join our Canine Companions family. We are forever grateful to you for making this possible.
The lessons we’ve learned over the past year have helped us innovate to deliver our program and message more effectively. By receiving some lectures virtually prior to the start of Team Training, students came to class better prepared and more comfortable, enabling more efficient training for these and future graduate teams. In addition, we started virtual puppy classes for our dedicated volunteer puppy raisers.
Since we opened our doors in 1975, over 6,700 service dogs have been placed. Over 400 people await the call that tells them we have a space for them in Team Training and service dog for them that will open doors to new opportunities.
We are grateful for all you do to support our employees, clients and each other. Together we will emerge from this chaotic time stronger, more resilient and ever ready to spread that ripple.