Canine Companions for Independence recently held it’s August 2016 Graduation ceremony in Medford. Puppy Raisers converged from all over the Atlantic coast for the ceremony. It was exciting and exhilarating and yet at the same time a bit emotional and sad as Puppy Raisers who had raised and trained these dogs from pups, were turning them over to their new owners.
Canine Companions for Independence, which was established in 1975 in Santa Rosa, California, provides highly trained assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities. CCI is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs and quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. Canine Companions breeds Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two. Puppies are born in the homes of the volunteer breeder caretakers that provide permanent homes to Canine Companions breeder dogs and nurture newborn pups until they are about 8 weeks old. The pups are then placed with volunteer puppy raisers for about 14 to 18 months, where they receive lots of love and attention, learn basic obedience skills and have plenty of opportunities to socialize in a variety of environments. One of those on hand for the ceremony was NYS Assemblyman Dean Murray, who provided special citations to each of the graduating dogs.