A graduation ceremony for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is quite possibly the most overwhelmingly adorable and inspiring way to spend an hour of your life. The nonprofit and volunteers do amazing work, the recipients are very thankful, and the dogs are too cute.
During a recent ceremony in Dublin, 10 people in need of a service dog had their dream come true thanks to the nonprofit and the volunteer puppy raisers who graciously handed over the dogs they had diligently raised. As leashes were handed over, only a second of sadness could be seen on the faces of volunteer puppy raisers. Tears of joy quickly followed as the highly-trained assistance dogs embraced their new owners in a variety of insanely endearing ways.
Established in 1975, CCI is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit provider of trained assistance dogs for children, adults, and veterans with physical disabilities. CCI assistance dogs are provided free of charge, though costs to CCI exceed $45,000 per dog to breed, raise, train, and provide ongoing support. Since CCI receives no government funding, charitable contributions, grants, special events, and corporate support fund the substantial costs involved with this process.
CCI has its own breeding program in Santa Rosa, California, and when the puppies are 8-weeks old they are placed with volunteer puppy raisers across the country who teach them up to 30 basic commands. When the puppy is approximately 18 months old, the puppy raiser returns the dog to one of CCI’s five regional training centers for 6 months of advanced training before it is placed with an adult or child with a physical disability.
“Canine Companion dogs mean greater independence, security and just happiness,” said Steve of his new dog Pluto.
CCI trains four types of dogs:
- Service dogs assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks.
- Hearing dogs alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds.
- Skilled companion dogs enhance independence for adults and children with cognitive disabilities.
- Facility dogs work with a professional in a visitation, education, or healthcare setting.
After intensive training, the dogs can do things such as: retrieve out-of-reach objects, open and close doors, turn lights on and off, and show their partners the source of sounds.
Learn more about Canine Companions for Independence through their PowerPhilanthropy (http://tcfapp.org/PortraitView/ViewPortrait/6144) portrait and also on their website (http://www.cci.org/).
Information about local nonprofits is available 24/7 through the Foundation’s online resource, PowerPhilanthropy, which is available to everyone who wants to be more informed about the nonprofits they care about. PowerPhilanthropy makes it easy to donate to the causes you care about at columbusfoundation.org/p2/.