The 2011 class was twice the size of the 1997 class but I felt like I had more time to talk to the trainers and the Director. I had some real concerns about some issues at home and they worked with me to find solutions. I had to leave training early because of needing emergency surgery, and while I was allowed to bring my dog home until I could return for the fall class, the Director had me sign an addendum to their usual contract that listed several requirements so they were assured that I was handling my dog safely in public and private. Safety is paramount!
I believe Canine Partners for Life is one of the best programs out there in terms of the quality of dogs and their training and of their genuine desire to make the best teams possible. I applied to 5-6 organizations when I first starting looking for a service dog, and actually interviewed with one other. I have seen service dogs that were owner trained and that came from other programs so I feel very confident in my assessment.
As I said CPL started me on my training journey but I worked with trainers locally for a 18 months when I brought Kia home. I read and watched videos about training to help me and my dog. Now I've started the process again with Magee. It is a commitment.
If you decide to apply for a dog from CPL, don't expect miracles. Don't expect you won't have to work during team training and beyond. Dog training is not a one shot and you're done deal. It's a life-long commitment to your dog, honing skills and teaching new ones. Although the staff tries to match you with a suitable dog, unless you go and visit multiple times in person before you're assigned a dog, all they have to base their judgements on are your essays, your application and your video interview. If you don't represent your lifestyle and disability accurately, you may not get the dog you need.
I'm sorry Anonymous and Speaking Out feel they were treated badly and misled by Canine Partners for Life. I was there but do not share their same perceptions of what they say they witnessed. Not every group will meet every person's needs. I hope they can get the help they need somewhere.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
My service dog Kia changed my life, giving me independence and companionship. (1997) My service dog Magee has helped me in those areas as well as been a great emotional support after a great loss in my life.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I honestly can't think of one.
How would you describe the help you got from this organization?
How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?
How do you feel you were treated by this organization?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
How did you find this group?
Magazine article on service dogs in 1996.
What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?
They encouraged me to think outside my limitation, to try even if I'm not sure I can, then try again.