The Hero Litter Update – Mellow or Moxie?

The Hero Litter puppies have been spending the last couple of months adjusting to their volunteer puppy raisers’ homes and routines. During this time of settling in, the pups’ temperaments start to come out and really shine.

So what traits have the Hero Litter pups been displaying? Mellow, moxie or somewhere in between, find out from their volunteer puppy raisers…



Hala – “It takes both to make a wonderful working dog. Hala’s mellow side is very gentle and loving. Her moxie side allows her to face difficulty (loud noises, strange surfaces, new challenges) with spirit and courage.”



Harpo – “Harpo is the perfect combination of mellow and moxie. She loves to play and party but also knows how to relax, be calm and she’s starting to understand what working means. She is an easy pup and such a love!”



Harvest – “Harvest is a little bit mellow and moxie!! Depends on the day. Plus, I am fairly certain, that she is fully aware of how cute she is, so she thinks she deserves special treatment. Overall, she is really sweet and is VERY quick to learn a command which has made working with her lots of fun.”



Holly – “Mellow or moxie? Our Miss Holly is all attitude. High energy and curious, she is a little yellow flurry of adventures waiting to happen.”



Hudson – “Hudson is definitely the middle of the road between mellow and moxie! He’s easy to train with a little stubborn streak. It’s difficult to not laugh at him as he ‘grumbles’ at me when I ask a command of him, that he’s just not feeling. He gets lots of attention and good-boy pats, which seem to motivate him.”



Hoagy  – “Hoagy’s temperament is starting to come out! I define it as being willfully mellow. He is very motivated by attention and food and most certainly has captured our hearts.”



Harbor – “I would definitely say Harbor is moxie. She is bubbly and happy to see everyone and loves to play, especially with our 12-year-old release dog, Charlie. She loves to sit outside in our back yard and feel the wind blow on her face.”

Thank you to all the puppy raisers for their dedication, love and effort in raising the Hero Litter and for sharing their thoughts on this wonderful group of pups!

Learn more about puppy raising.

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Want to know what the Hero Litter pups really LOVE? Check back next month to read about their favorite toys, places, people and more.

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4th of July and Summer Safety Tips

eukaThe warm months of summer are great for spending quality time outdoors with your dog. However, remember that dogs wear fur coats all year! Whether you are raising a puppy for Canine Companions or spending an afternoon out with your pet, here are some tips to keep cool and safe all summer long.

Hot Weather – Things are heating up! Don’t forget:
– Limit outdoor exercise on hot days. Save long walks for early morning or evening when it is light out, but not as hot.
– Avoid hot pavement that can injure the pads on dogs’ feet. Stick to dirt paths or grass.
– Make sure your dog has access to ample shade and fresh, cool water.
– Never leave your dog unattended in a hot car on a summer day—even for a few minutes.
– If you think your dog is showing signs of heat stroke or exhaustion, contact your veterinarian immediately.

4th of July –While we may enjoy the Fourth of July, it has the potential to be stressful for dogs. Please remember:
– Don’t bring a puppy to a fireworks display. Fireworks can do damage to dog ears.
– Keep your puppy indoors on the Fourth of July. To help them feel secure, provide familiar indoor sounds such as a fan, radio, or TV that can help muffle the sounds of fireworks.
– Consider providing a crate for your puppy or dog. You can leave the door open to allow the dog in/out access, or even crate them in a quiet room with those familiar sounds.
– If the puppy displays anxious behaviors, such as whining or pacing, attempt to distract them by playing with their favorite toy or doing something they enjoy.
– When letting the puppy out to toilet, be sure that they wear a well-fitted collar and current I.D. tag. On rare occasions, dogs that are startled by loud noises will attempt to escape the noise despite boundaries like fences.

elmo_storiesSwimming Safety – This is not just your typical “No Running by the Pool”—this is puppy pool safety! Take care:
– Pools of all sizes are great for dogs to cool off in, but remember not all dogs can swim. Dogs that are tentative to enter the water should never be “flooded” and tossed in the pool. Try starting out with lots of motivation, toys, and a plastic baby pool. Get in the pool yourself and show your pup how it’s done.
– Whenever you encounter a new pool, be sure to show the puppy where and how to enter and exit the pool.
– Always supervise your dog or puppy!
– Remove all equipment(leashes, vests, collars) before allowing pool play. This will keep the puppy from getting caught on others objects or swimmers.
– After swimming, give the puppy’s skin a good rinse with fresh water and a good towel dry. Consider flushing the ears with a cleansing/drying ear rinse and be sure to thoroughly dry the inside of their ears with some cotton.

Here’s wishing you and your pup a very fun and safe summer!

Would you like more information on puppy raising? Visit: for our FAQs.

Would you like to donate to Canine Companions? Visit: to change a life.

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What’s happening with the Hero Litter

The Hero Litter pups are making themselves at home and getting to know and love their volunteer puppy raisers. Hudson’s puppy raiser Diesta says, “We are bonding and really getting to understand each other. I’m totally in love.”

The first month with their puppy raisers is an important time of transition as they are introduced to new environments, people and routines.

Some pups are getting used to a larger and different “pack.” Chrissie, Harbor’s puppy raiser says, “Harbor is adjusting well to our busy family. She has play time with our three children, 11-year-old lab/golden mix and two cats.”

For other Hero Litter pups, establishing a new schedule is the first order of business. “We have settled into a nice routine of going to work during the week and puppy class,” shares Sue, puppy raiser to Hala. “Weekends are for relaxing and working on her first basic commands: learning her name, sit, shake, down and practice wearing the gentle leader.”

Socialization is also key to the early training these pups receive. This means meeting new friends, traveling to different locations and experiencing new sights and sounds. Holly and Hoagy are being raised by Eukanuba employees and have enjoyed the great facilities at their corporate headquarters. “They are learning proper meeting etiquette for a puppy, which is sleeping peacefully under the table,” explains Donna, Holly’s puppy raiser.


The Hero Litter is off to a great start! All this early socialization will help them with their professional training and their work towards becoming an assistance dog for a person with a disability. Thank you to all the puppy raisers who are such a vital part of our mission.

Learn more about puppy raising.

Visit our website.

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Kids Give Big

Sometimes Canine Companions’ greatest supporters are also the youngest. Our Northwest Training Center recently received four donations totaling over $7,000 from some very generous kids! Read on to find out more about these impressive young ambassadors for our mission.

abbiGood Design: After receiving a Rainbow Loom for Christmas, Abbi Roman (with Skilled Companion Palua) decided to start her own bracelet-making business. Abbi designs and weaves these beautiful bracelets and then sells them at school, while friends sell the bracelets at other schools and her grandmother sells them at church. She decided that all proceeds would go to Canine Companions! Abbi is still making bracelets…

Oak ChanCanine Café: The students in Susan Woodman’s class at Oak Chan Elementary School in Folsom, CA benefit every day from their Facility Dog Reisig who is a constant calming presence. Since Susan received Reisig in 2005, Canine Companions has been the recipient of her class’ annual fundraiser. They create a restaurant called Dragon Paradise Café for three days each year, during which students create a menu, and then help cook and serve the food. Earlier this month, the class dropped off their donation in the form of toys for our dogs in professional training.

Brownies_CanineCompanionsBrownie Bonus: Theresa Stenhouse of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center received Facility Dog Sierra earlier this year and Theresa’s daughter fell in love. So did the rest of Brownie Troop 62180! They decided to donate money from their annual cookie sales to help Canine Companions. It was a very sweet surprise!

Make It PawsiblePositively PAWSible: Two fifth-grade classes at Silver Oak Elementary School spearheaded a service project called Make it PAWsible. They raise money in honor of teacher Bill Laraway’s sister, long-time graduate Lee Ann Laraway, who passed away last year. Through an in-school dollar drive and online donations, they made a significant contribution to Canine Companions this year!

Bravo, kids! Many thanks for your efforts and good work!

Learn more about hosting an independent fundraiser.

Start your own online fundraising page.

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Hittin’ the Road for Canine Companions


The Bochers with their back tires in the Pacific Ocean

After turning in a second puppy for Canine Companions, volunteer puppy raisers Barb and Bill Bochner decided to take a little cycling trip. Well, okay, maybe not so little. They are cycling across the United States!

Bochners 8Follow Barb and Bill Bochner, aka the Pedaling Puppy Raisers, on their trip across the country to raise money and awareness for Canine Companions’ Wounded Veterans Initiative! Barb and Bill started in Anacortes, Washington at the end of May. They’ve traveled over 700 miles so far, braving mountain passes, bear reports and big rigs. They’ll be cycling all the way to Bar Harbor, Maine, which they should reach by September. View their blog and donate here.Bochners 7

Bill says, “After over 30 years of talking about this trip and months of preparation, we’re finally heading out. We’ll see you on the road.”

Live along the route? Leave a message on Barb and Bill’s blog, and then rally some friends to cheer for the Pedaling Puppy Raisers during their long trip!

Good luck Barb and Bill. Thank you for your efforts and dedication!

Bochners 2

Learn more about being a volunteer puppy raiser.

Learn more about our Wounded Veterans Initiative. 

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The E Litter Returns!

The E Litter has returned to Canine Companions for Independence to begin their professional training. Emma, Everett, Ella, Elmo, Euka II, Emily, Ethan and Eliza matriculated last week at our graduation ceremonies that took place around the country. Their journey to extraordinary will continue as they learn and perfect up to 40 commands that will increase the independence of a child, adult or veteran with a disability.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to Eukanuba for sponsoring the E Litter. We’d also like to thank all the loyal people who have supported, loved, watched and cheered for this litter of pups for the last year and a half. Take a moment to enjoy the slide show that was presented at the graduation ceremonies. Best wishes to the E Litter and a great big welcome to the Hero Litter.

To learn more about Canine Companions, visit

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“Canine Companions has become like a huge extended family…”

5Kanine (2)At Canine Companions for Independence, our supporters not only support our mission, they support one another! Earlier this month, the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity from Grand Valley State University in Michigan hosted the 5Kanine to benefit Canine Companions.

Of course the goal of the event was to fundraise, but in reality it also helped strengthen the bond of Canine Companions supporters and their passion for our mission. We have a truly amazing group of volunteers!

“A puppy raiser from Michigan sent out a note asking for additional support for the event,” shares volunteer puppy raiser Marty Marlatt of Central Ohio. Without hesitation, Marty made plans to make the five-hour drive to Michigan. “Canine Companions has become like a huge extended family to me over the years, so I thought it would be cool to support the cause and visit with fellow puppy raisers I don’t see often.”

Marty wasn’t the only one who traveled cross-country to support the event; others traveled from Indiana. “As with many Canine Companions activities, several people stepped up to show support,” Marty recalls. “I’m having trouble putting the experience into words, but I was so proud of all those who traveled so far. It showed how much we care about each other and about Canine Companions’ mission.”


Thank you to the young men of Alpha Sigma Phi and for all the Canine Companions volunteers who made the long trip to help with, support and participate in the event.

Learn more about puppy raising for Canine Companions for Independence.

Visit the Alpha Sigma Phi fundraising page to make a donation.

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Puppy Raising, service dogs, Uncategorized, volunteer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Last Month with the E Litter

For the last year and a half, we’ve had the pleasure of sharing the progress of the E Litter. You’ve read about how they are growing, who they are meeting, which commands they are learning and what steps they are taking to get ready for the professional training they will begin in one month’s time.


The E Litter puppy raisers have included you in the sleepless nights during the first few days with the puppies; the pure joy when the pups learned to come to their names; the trips and outings they have taken together and now, the point where they must say goodbye at next month’s graduation ceremonies. It will be a very proud and emotional day for the volunteer puppy raisers who have come to love these amazing dogs.


So, there’s one month left and they’re making the most of it! It’s time to fine-tune the advanced commands, give one last “shake” to friends and family, take trips to favorite places and finally start the process of letting go. It won’t be easy, but they know the puppies they’ve raised have the opportunity to become life-changing assistance dogs for a child, adult or veteran with a disability. What a gift! These puppy raisers are honored to be such an important part of this great mission and will cherish every moment of their last month with these very special dogs.

As always, thank you for following the E Litter’s journey!

Learn more about becoming a volunteer puppy raiser.

Make a donation in honor of the E Litter.


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Our Volunteers Give Back to their Communities

McGehee2Jerry Campbell and Donna McGehee of Abilene, Texas, have been volunteering with Canine Companions since they received their first puppy to raise in 2002. Since then, they have become valued members of the Canine Companions family and are an integral part of the Dallas/Ft. Worth volunteer group. Group leader Beth Jerner says, “I can attest to their dedication. They live 3 hours away from the closest Canine Companions group. Yet they are always willing to make the drive to participate in outreach events, fundraisers or a single meeting.”

Donna discovered Canine Companions back in the mid 80’s while both individuals were in the Air Force, and they started donating through the Combined Federal Campaign. After they both retired, Donna said she wanted to be a puppy raiser so the couple applied and were accepted. Jerry says, “Volunteering with Canine Companions has afforded us the opportunity to give back to the community, not just here in Abilene, but throughout the country.”

Since Jerry and Donna are both retired and were medical personnel when they were active duty, Canine Companion’s Wounded Veterans Initiative is near and dear to their hearts. Jerry states, “It is only natural for us to be concerned for all veterans, the wounded ones especially. We have both been blessed to not have seen any direct combat when we were active duty but we both have known and do know others who were not so fortunate. We have always believed in taking care of our own and Canine Companions is an excellent way to do that.”

We’d like to extend many thanks to Jerry and Donna, for their passion, dedication and hard work!

Learn more about puppy raising for Canine Companions for Independence.

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Puppy Raising, Uncategorized, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here Comes Spring!

Spring is right around the corner, and guess who’s ready? That’s right, the E Litter pups! Not only do the longer and warmer days mean more time outside, but they also mean more walks, more opportunities to meet new friends, and more socialization.

If you’ve been following the E Litter from the beginning, you know that socialization is one of the most important parts of a Canine Companions puppy’s early training. The day-to-day experiences and exposures to new people, places, and challenges help turn our puppies into the excellent assistance dogs we place with adults and children with disabilities.

So with spring days calling to them, the E Litter pups are ready to get out and get movin’.


Eliza in her Easter bonnet.

Easter is on the way and visitors are coming around, so Eliza and her volunteer puppy raisers are excited for spring. They are also preparing for the next stage of the E Litter journey to extraordinary…professional training at one of the five regional training centers.


Ready for the parade.

Elmo is taking advantage of the great weather in his neck of the woods. He even represented Canine Companions for Independence walking in the St. Patrick’s Day parade earlier this month. What a beautiful and lucky boy!


Good-bye snow!

The slow melting of winter is finally at hand, and Ella and Euka love getting to sniff the green grass and spend more time outside. These two are certainly snow dogs, but it’s so nice to have the sun warming their coats again.


Emily at a Golden State Warriors game.

Since Emily is a California pup, she hasn’t had too much “weather,” so to speak. But she and her volunteer puppy raisers will certainly enjoy the wildflowers on relaxing hikes and the warm breezes while hanging out at the beach.


Emma at the shore.

A trip south was in store for Emma and her volunteer puppy raisers. As much as she enjoyed the snow and cold, Emma appreciates the warmer climate. She continues to be a great ambassador for Canine Companions; working her charm on folks she meets and sharing our mission.


Lunch outside with friends.

As the only other Canine Companions puppy being raised in California, Ethan’s outings haven’t been hindered by snow storms or rough climates. He continues to dine alfresco with friends, take hikes with his volunteer puppy raiser, play at the Canine Companions dog park, and more. Spring will bring more outings and adventures for this sweet boy.

These E Litter pups are ready to greet the buds, blooms and new opportunities of spring time. Thank you for following this amazing litter of pups!

For more information on becoming a volunteer puppy raiser, visit

To make a donation in honor of the E Litter, visit

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Eukanuba, puppies, Puppy Raising, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment