Canine Companions Assistance Dog Team Sponsorship

by Canine Companions for Independence

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. 

In May, Canine Companions for Independence placed the 5,000th assistance dog in the organization's history.  Since 1975, Canine Companions has placed assistance dogs free of charge with veterans, adults, and children with disabilities.  There are over 2,000 active graduate teams today, and in 2016, over 100 assistance dogs have already been placed.  At this pace, we will place 300 assistance dogs this year.

We are far from finished, as several more Team Trainings are scheduled this year.  Upcoming graduation ceremonies will be held at or near our centers in Santa Rosa, California, Oceanside, California, Irving, Texas, Delaware, Ohio, Medford, New York, and Orlando, Florida.  Please visit our website for dates and times of graduations. 

One of the people who benefits from a Canine Companions assistance dog is Nancy, who is a National Board member and four-time Canine Companions graduate.  Nancy shared that "There are never enough words to express how much Canine Companions service dogs have changed my life and how much they mean to me."

A contribution to this project helps ensure that Canine Companions will place more assistance dogs with people with disabilities.  Thank you for your interest in Canine Companions for Independence.

On the heels of a successful year that saw us place an all-time best 309 assistance dogs, Canine Companions for Independence is off and running in 2016.  In the first quarter of this year, 75 assistance dogs have been placed with adults, including veterans and children with disabilities.  We're just getting started, as several more Team Training classes and graduation ceremonies are scheduled between now and November 2016.

We have over 2,000 active graduate teams today, and will soon place the 5,000 assistance dog in our history.  Each of our assistance dogs along with our graduate follow-up services are provided free of charge.

The support we receive from individuals around the country enables us to place more assistance dogs than any other organization.

Canine Companions graduate Nancy, who has a neuromuscular disease received her first assistance dog in 1994, and recently received her 4th dog.  Nancy shared that "There are never enough words to express how much Canine Companions service dogs have changed my life and how much they mean to me."  All four of Nancy's service dogs have helped her live more independently by opening doors, picking up dropped items and pulling her wheelchair. 

We are grateful to all who have contributed to Canine Companions and supported people like Nancy.

Canine Companions for Indpendence celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, and the special anniversary year was one to remember.  In 2015, 309 assistance dogs were placed free of charge with adults, children and veterans with disabilities.  The 309 placements are an all-time high for the organization.  Today we have just over 2,000 active graduate teams, and nearly 4,900 assistance dogs have been placed over the course of four decades. 

In addition to our record number of placements, Canine Companions also

-  Opened the sixth Canine Companions regional training center.  The new center is in Irving, Texas

-  Conducted follow-up visits with 1,005 of our graduates

-  Continued our partnership with the Veterans Administration for a study that evaluates the benefits of assistance for veterans with PTSD.

-  Expanded awareness of Canine Companions through dozens of DogFest Walk 'n Rolls.

  In 2016, our first Team Training class graduated.  It was a hearing dog class, which took place in Santa Rosa, California, where Canine Companions is headquartered.  Team Trainings and graduation ceremonies will be held in February throughout the country.  More than 20 Team Trainings and graduation ceremonies will be held in 2016.

The last Canine Companions for Independence 2015 graduations took place on November 6 and 7. Graduation ceremonies included the South Central graduation in Irving, Texas, which was held at our brand new center in Irving.   With the November graduations, the number of assistance dogs placed in 2015 topped 300 for the first time in our 40-year history.  We're so pleased to have reached this milestone and are grateful to all who make our work of providing highly trained assistance dogs free of charge to adults, children and veterans with disabilities free of charge possible.

2015 is a particularly special year for Canine Companions, because our organization turned 40 years old on the 4th of July.  The year featured not only the opening of our sixth center, but we also placed assistance dogs with Veterans with PTSD.  The placement of assistance dogs with veterans with PTSD is part of a study being conducted by the Veterans Administration.

We broadened our reach thanks to the 28 DogFest Walk 'n Rolls held across the country.  These events educate and inform the public about Canine Companions and the amazing things that our assistance dogs can do. 

With over 4,800 assistance dogs placed in organization's history, our instructors are training dogs now that will graduate in the first quarter of 2016. All who contribute through this program truly make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

One such person who benefits is four-time graduate Jeanette, who  has spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy that causes muscles to deteriorate.  Her current service dog, Thelma helps make Jeanette's life easier by turning lights on and off, picking up dropped items and carrying Jeanette's briefcase.  Thelma can even open the refrigerator and get items out and put them on the counter where Jeanette can reach them.  Jeanette shared that "She is so receptive to my needs and wants to please me no matter what."

Thank you for helping us place dogs like Thelma III with people like Jeanette.


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Organization Information

Canine Companions for Independence

Location: Santa Rosa, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Bob Bunger
National Director of Development Services
Santa Rosa, CA United States

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