Canine Companions for Independence
"Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People."
Imagine not being able to reach a light switch, pick up your keys when you drop them, or open a cabinet door. Then imagine having a beautiful dog that could do all of that for you, and more�
Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) provides assistance dogs to people with developmental or physical disabilities who can demonstrate that a Canine Companion will enhance their independence or quality of life. Founded in 1975, CCI pioneered the concept of training dogs to assist people with physical disabilities. We are a leader in the assistance dog field and recognized for the quality and longevity of the human-canine partnerships we form. Since its inception, CCI has graduated more than 2,300 teams of highly trained assistance dogs and the humans who depend on them.
CCI breeds, raises, and trains dogs to become Canine Companions. We also teach the adults and children who enter our programs how to apply the skills of their assistance dog to best meet their individual needs. Some of our graduates have waited years for the call that invites them into one of CCI's team trainings -- a call that they never forget. Our work doesn't end there; CCI provides ongoing follow-up services to ensure that each graduate team enjoys an effective partnership into the future. There are CCI graduates who have benefited from more than one assistance dog, retiring their dogs after many years of service only to begin the process all over again.
CCI breeds, raises, and trains Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and crosses of the two breeds. We couldn't accomplish what we do without the help of our 3,000 active volunteers. Our puppies are whelped in our volunteer breeder caretakers' homes and then placed in the homes of dedicated volunteer puppy raisers throughout the country for basic obedience training and socialization. As our puppy raisers like to say, "Some people wait a lifetime for a miracle�we raise them one at a time."
When the puppies reach 13 to 18 months of age, they are ready for Advanced Training, where CCI instructors teach these young adult dogs more than 40 specialized commands and prepare them for placement as one of four types of assistance dog:
- Service Dogs who enhance the independence of their adult partners by performing practical daily tasks such as picking up dropped items, turning lights on and off, opening doors, and pulling manual wheelchairs.
- Skilled Companion Dogs who work with children with disabilities and adults with severe disabilities under the supervision of a facilitator - a parent, caregiver, or spouse. In addition to assisting with physical tasks, Skilled Companions help to boost confidence and serve as a social bridge to others.
- Hearing Dogs who help deaf or hard of hearing people by alerting them to key sounds such as a knock at the door, a smoke alarm, or someone calling their name.
- Facility Dogs who work alongside health-care and educational professionals in settings such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and special education classrooms. Their calm temperament and unconditional love make them ideal for interacting with and motivating people of all ages.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, CCI receives no government funding and is supported entirely through the generosity of individual contributors, corporations, and foundations. CCI graduates are not asked for any payment for the canine, its training, or ongoing follow-up services.
You can make a dramatic difference in the life of a person with a disability by supporting Canine Companions for Independence and the people we serve. Your gift would enable others on our waiting list to receive a Canine Companion with the expectation of increased self-esteem, independence, and unconditional love. We are asking you to be part of the team that provides "Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People."