Canine Companions for Independence has now placed over 200 assistance dogs in 2016, as Team Trainings and Graduation ceremonies took place earlier this month. But, we're far from finished in 2016. Hearing Dog Team Training comes this fall, and all regions will host Team Trainings in late October into November, with the last graduation ceremonies of 2016 taking place in early November.
While it's too early to tell whether we'll meet last year's placement total of 309, that number is within reach. We'll provide an update later this year.
None of the work we do is possible without the contributions that come from people from all over the United States. Thanks to the support of our friends, every Canine Companions assistance dog and follow-up services are provided free of charge.
If you have been to a Canine Companions graduation, you've seen firsthand how a dog can enhance the life of a person with disabilities. If you've never been to a graduation, and are in the vicinity of one of our regional centers, please come, as the ceremonies are free and open to the public.
In addition to graduation ceremonies, DogFest Walk 'n Rolls will be held throughout the summer and fall. These events have something for everyone and are another great way to learn about Canine Companions.
Veterans like Stefan, who served in Afghanistan are among the recipients of a Canine Companions assistance dog. Stefan stepped on an IED, which resulted in him losing his legs. He is paired with Service Dog Knoxville, who helps Stefan move forward and go further. Today, Stefan uses prosthetics and has gotten into adaptive sporting and running, and Knoxville (Knox) is always there to help Stefan retrieve his equipment and provide loving support after a long workout.
Stefan and Knox are just one of the more than 5,000 assistance dog teams that have been formed since Canine Companions opened its doors in 1975. Thanks to you, we'll provide many more people with an assistance dog.