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Canine Companions for Independence

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Health, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Rehabilitative Care

Mission: Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. CCI serves people all over the US with training centers in Northern and Southern California, Ohio, New York, and Florida, as well as dozens of volunteer groups and satellite offices. Visit our website at www.cci.org or call toll-free 1-800-572-2275 to reach the CCI training center in your region.

Target demographics: Trained assistance dogs for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 240 teams placed in 2009.

Geographic areas served: National

Programs: This process includes breeding and puppy raising, training and follow-up, public information, and veterinary expenses. See specific training results below.

Service Dogs: We train golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers (and cross-breeds of the two) to retrieve dropped items, pull wheelchairs, turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and many other tasks for people with limited mobility.
Hearing Dogs: We also train dogs to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing by alerting them to important sounds.
Facility Dogs: We train dogs to work in therapeutic settings such as hospitals, clinics, hospices, schools, and other places where the unconditional love and soothing presence of a loving animal can help people feel better.
Skilled Companion Dogs: We train dogs similar to Service Dogs that work with clients and a third person, usually a parent or caregiver.

Community Stories

33 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Kudos to CCI!!! CCI is a wonderful organization. We have seen first hand how it has helped our son who lost his leg in Iraq. The service dog he received is very helpful to him and is his constant companion. We saw a change in our son immediately after he received his "companion" from CCI. They are now inseparable and go almost everywhere together. It is one of the best things that has happened to our son since his injury. I hope CCI will continue to help other severely injured "heroes" of our US Military. Thank you to all especially the volunteers who spend endless hours training the special dogs. What an awesome way for the volunteers and CCI to give back to these brave men and women who have sacrificed themselves for our freedom.

1 Steve184

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Canine Companions for Independence is truly one of the best there is.I am so grateful to be associated with this awesome organization. My efforts as a volunteer,really make my heart full,I've never seen such compassion,and a group as strong,and dedicated as CCI.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful organization! I am thrilled to be part of their mission. I am raising my first of hopefully many puppies for them.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

CCI is the Cadillac of the service dog industry.
I have volunteered as a puppy raiser, breeder caretaker, and board member for over 20 years and know first hand the miracles that these highly trained dogs work in the lives of their disabled partners. They do not charge the recipients for these valuable dogs, who also receive a lifetime of follow up and support.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My service dog, Andy, allows me to live on my own without help from others. He not only provides physical assistance but also provides me a companion so I don't get isolated. CCI dogs are the best. Andy is my 4th CCI service dog

2 Katelyn2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great Organization!!! everything is tops. Highly recommend. I received Dario in May of 2015 and he changed my live for the better. He knows how to open doors , pick up dropped items and turn lights on and off . He also does things that come naturally to him like help reduce my anxiety and helps me be more social because people want to meet him .

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I could never give enough thanks to Canine Companions for Independence and everyone involved with this wonderful organization. My Hearing Dog Tatiana has given me a second chance at independence, happiness and life, and has touched countless lives. My life has been forever changed and saved (literally) because of her. Heroes are not born, but are madeā€¦ And Canine Companions made Tatiana. I can never return the gift I have been given, but I can do my best to keep paying it forward. Thank you CCI!

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CCI is my family and beyond special to me, love!!!

Review from Guidestar

3 Morton S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was given a service dog at no cost to me. Oscar VI helps me be indepandant. He picks up my clothing by name: shirt, socks, undershirt, slippers, etc. He opens drawers, pulls off my socks, and helps me get dressed. Opens and closes doors, turns lights off and on and much more.

Canine Companions for Independence started in California where they breed their own dogs. When these exceptional dogs are 8 weeks old they are sent to one of several regions to initiate their puppy raising and training with volunteers. Then they ascend to advanced training at a Canine Companions for Independence location, Oscars is Orlando, Florida. After 9 months Oscar was ready to be considered for placement with a disabled person that would be helped to be independent. My wife and I went to CCI Orlando for 2 weeks of training to learn how to lead, care for, manage and think like a dog.

Canine Companions for Independence does this all with a very small professional staff of highly motivated and very dedicated people. They provide highly-trained, exceptional dogs at no charge to disabled Veterans and others with disabilities. This is why I recommend CCI.

Review from Guidestar

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Exceptional dogs, exceptional people. I feel LUCKY to be part of such an amazing organization.

Review from Guidestar

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 12 year old has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and a rate immune disorder. We received our skilled companion working dog in February of 2013. Nickel III has been a Godsend. He's a faithful companion, he can help retrieve objects when our son has bad JRA days and he been a great social bridge for our son.

Review from Guidestar

2 Nancy215

Donor

Rating: 5

From breeders, to puppy raisers, to trainers and vets and full-time staff: there simply isn't a more qualified - people-passionate - assistance-dog organization out there.

Review from Guidestar

2 Cindy145

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I signed up to raise my first puppy in 2013. I turned in May 2015 and look forward to receiving my 2nd puppy in training either end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. What they do for people with disabilities is beyond amazing. Not many organizations offer fully trained dogs free of charge. CCI does and they do support their graduates for the life of the dog.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm currently raising my first puppy for CCI. What a great organization. Raising this pup has made me even more aware of how people with disabilities are treated and how many fake service dogs there are out there. Kudos to CCI for starting the ball rolling on banning fake service dog equipment sales on the internet.

3 Donna218

Client Served

Rating: 5

We received a CCI skilled companion dog in 2007 for my daughter born with spina bifida. The independence she gained was unimaginable. I never would have guessed how her world opened up for her by the addition of a dog. But, CCI dogs are so much more then just a dog. They become extensions of their people. They become their arms, legs, eyes, and ears. The fact that my daughter can tell Gladys II ( lovingly known as Glady) "get mom" and she will run to me and tug my clothes until I follow her back to my daughter is awe inspiring. There are no words to express our gratitude for all the hard work that goes into the raising, training, and placement of these incredible dogs. CCI is simply put, AMAZING!!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My organizations which serves children who are deaf or hard of hearing has been fortunate in receiving a Facility Dog from CCI. This dog is a miracle maker! Children who never smiled, now smile when they see her. Kids who are having a tough day, relax when she is with them. She is an integral part of the curriculum, helping kids solve puzzles, find the right words during speech therapy, encouraging them to be physically active in the play yard. I cannot state strongly enough how great the benefits are from the services of this one dog.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Besides being a NER Board of Directors Member for CCI, I am raising my second puppy for them. I cannot think of a better way to serve the community. By volunteering for this wonderful organization I get to see first hand what these exceptional dogs can do for adults and children with a disability. It's by far the greatest joy to witness the remarkable difference it makes in a persons life. Each Recipient receives his/her dog free of charge too!!!! Bravo to CCI for all that they do to help give a person with a disability the independence to live life to the fullest by providing their highly trained assistance dogs. I'm honored to be on the Northeast Regional Board Member and thrilled to be raising another miracle for them.
~Yvonne Dagger
NER Board of Directors Member

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a Canine Companion Board of Director Member, a Puppy Raiser and the President of the Long Island Chapter of Canine Companions. I have proudly been a part of the Canine Companions family for over 4 years now. Canine Companions is a quality non-profit organization that prides and is dedicated to their mission of providing their highly trained Assistance dogs to people with disabilities, FREE OF CHARGE. Relying on donations from volunteers, business, corporations and partnerships Canine Companions is able to continue their mission.

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3

Donor

Rating: 4

After much agonizing over the many worthy charities listed by the Pittsburgh Foundation for its Day of Giving, my daughter chose Canine Companions for Independence, as she was touched by the work and testimonials of many people who have helped disabled people by providing trained assistance dogs.

Sadly though, despite this charity being listed as a non-profit available for matching funds on its web site [ http://pittsburghgives.org/?cat=3&s='' ], we were unable to donate as the Pittsburgh Foundation stated it as unavailable for donating. This was heartbreaking for my daughter, as she looked so forward to give, with the promised matching funds by the Pittsburgh Foundation. If the Pittsburgh Foundation no longer feels that this charity was worthy of receiving donations, I wish it had not listed it as one of the ones available.

5 Jane54

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer puppy raiser for CCI since 2006. I turned in dog #4 for advanced training just last week. CCI has the most wonderful and supportive staff and volunteers. Take a few moments to learn more about this amazing organization that provides "exceptional dogs for exceptional people".

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When you are a volunteer puppy raiser for Canaine Companions for Independence you are continually asked 2 questions: 1. Why is your dog wearing a muzzle? (It's not a muzzle, it's a Gentle Leader and helps to guide his head instead of pulling on his neck and choking him). and 2. How can you give him up? (It's like raising a child - you pour all your love and hard work into them. Then it's time for them to leave the house and go out into the world. You're so proud of all they've accomplished and wish them only the best in their next stage along life's journey). 13 years ago, when I was raising my first puppy for CCI, I worked as a volunteer in one of their regional offices. I was asked by one of the office staff a question that I had not been asked before: what will you do if your puppy makes it through advanced training and is matched with someone you don't think is appropriate for him? Hmmmm. What would I do? I thought about that for a short time and replied that I would then have to readjust my thinking. If the CCI trainers were matching my dog to someone I did not think was appropriate, then they must see something in my puppy and/or in my puppy's new partner that I had missed. The trainers at CCI have had many more years of experience with these dogs than I have. They understand their dogs in ways that I do not. They want the best for their dogs and want all their dogs to be successful. The trainer's decisions were not based on what was best for me - their decisions were based on what was best for their dogs.

As it turned out, my puppy did not graduate, but was released from the CCI program. We have done therapy dog work together for the last 12 years. At 13, he is still visiting an assisted living community and still spreading the word about all the wonderful work that CCI does.

CCI is an organization in which I truley believe. I have volunteered and donated to them for over 20 years. I have met many wonderful staff members, graduates and volunteers - some who have become valuable friends. I have seen first hand the life changing experiences this organization has been responsible for. I'm proud to be a CCI volunteer and proud to spread the word about this exceptional organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Canine Companions for Independence for about 17 years. I sm a volunteer, a puppy raiser, and a monthly contributor. I am VERY proud to be associated with this marvelous organization that changes the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained service dogs FREE OF CHARGE. As a "dog person", someone who has not just owned dogs, but trained and competed with them, I can honestly say that their breeding program has resulted in exceptional dogs. Their commitment to their dogs is lifelong. Their efforts to insure that the puppy raiser helps the dog develop and achieve his potential are outstanding. I have seen first hand the difference these dogs make in people's lives, enabling people with disabilities to go to work, do their household tasks themselves, reach their own potential. The volunteers and puppy raisers are also a wonderful group of people who work tirelessly and cooperatively toward the common goals. Enough praise cannot be given also to the trainers and staff. I give this organization the highest rating, deservedly.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with CCI for about a year now. Immediately upon walking into my local chapter headquarters, I could see that this is a very special organization. I was welcomed into the fold by dedicated, compassionate volunteers and made to feel part of the CCI community. I was astounded by how hard these individuals work to help others by providing these loving companions for exceptional people and their families. I have been able to see, first hand, how CCI helps children, adults, and the people who love them. I know it sounds trite, but the CCI community truly is a family, and I consider myself very fortunate to have become involved.