This past Sunday, I stopped by the Puppy Summer Sunday event held by Canine Companions for Independence, or CCI. Kimi, The Daily Toki reader that won the paracord leash in our recent giveaway, is a volunteer puppy raiser for CCI and she brought my attention to this fun event.
At Puppy Summer Sundays, visitors have an opportunity to learn about this non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities, meet and greet some adorable puppies that are currently in training, chat with staff and volunteers, and even watch a puppy training session by one of the professional trainers.
So many wiggly lab puppies in one room made it hard to concentrate! I’m lucky I managed to snap some photos before getting totally distracted by their fuzzy yellow coats and big brown eyes… You could tell that all of the puppies were trying very hard to concentrate too!
Each puppy spends about 18 months with a volunteer puppy raiser who provides them with basic obedience training and the foundation for the 6 – 9 months of intensive professional training that they need to learn their special assistance dog skills. Those (approximately 35%) that graduate from this rigorous program are carefully matched with a compatible adult or child with a disability during a two-week on-campus training session at one of the 5 CCI regional training centers located throughout the country.
At the event I met lots of volunteer puppy raisers and their puppies . . .
a few retired assistance dogs (now CCI “ambassadors”) . . .
Becca, one of the professional instructors for the Southwest Region CCI center in Oceanside, CA . . .
and even a dog-handler graduate team. It was truly an enjoyable event! If you live near any of the 5 regional CCI training centers, consider going to one of their events — whether it’s a Puppy Summer Sunday, an open house event, or even a graduation ceremony. It’s a wonderful way to learn about CCI and the important work of raising and training these canine professionals. Who knows, you might even end up as a volunteer puppy raiser!
Upcoming CCI events in the SoCal area are the Puppy Summer Sundays on June 26, July 24, and August 21 (noon-2 PM) at 2312 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. And the Assistance Dog-Handler Graduation Ceremony on August 12 in Oceanside, CA.
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This post is the first in my “Dogs with Jobs” series. If you know of any working or professional dogs, or would like to tell your own story about a dog with a job, please leave a comment or contact me via email or our Facebook Page. Thanks for reading!