“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.


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

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 www.cci.org/puppyraiser.

To make a donation in honor of the E Litter, visit www.cci.org/tribute.

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

Qualities for a Quality Match

As the day approaches when the E Litter puppies will be brought to their nearest Canine Companions training center for professional training, it’s on our minds about the people they might be matched with.

There are many things to think about when our trainers evaluate the dogs for placement. From the temperament of the dog to the type of tasks the dog will be expected to perform, so much is taken into consideration when matching one of our assistance dogs to a person with a disability.

We asked the E Litter volunteer puppy raisers what qualities they see in the puppies. What traits do the pups possess that will make them a perfect match. Here’s what they had to say…


Emma at the library

“Emma has attended the local library one hour a week for children to read to her. She is great with visitors and loves the kids. At her young age, she really seems to understand and connect.”


Everett and his pal

“Since Everett comes to work each day, he is very comfortable around new people and has developed his normal patterns in our office environment. Everett is definitely a ‘snow dog’ and absolutely loves running, playing and burrowing in the snow.”


Ella taking on new tasks

“Ella takes on challenges and is a dedicated pup! She likes an adventure and loves visiting the ski hills and hiking through the snowy trails.”


Elmo and his big heart

“Elmo is so patient and attentive. He loves to be by my side and seems to always want to ‘please’. Although he definitely loves his food, he eagerly accepts warm praise as a reward for his good behavior.”


Euka is a thinker!

“Euka is always aware of her handler and watches for what she should be doing. She just loves people and wants to interact, but she waits for me to let her know when it’s ok to shake hands with the folk she meets. Her manners in public are just perfect.”


Emily and her pal

“Emily is the most patient dog. She has been dressed up, combed through, snuggled with, read to, and constantly doted on by my daughter. She is an amazing dog! We could see her being a facility dog at a children’s hospital or working as a skilled companion for a child with a disability.”


Ethan shares his devotion

“Ethan is wonderfully attentive—locks those big brown eyes on his person, eager to anticipate a command. He is calm and patient. It’s so easy to imagine him alert but at rest alongside a wheelchair. And this boy is big and strong, just the guy to become a “puller!” Underneath it all is the sweetest personality ever. A child with a disability would adore being adored by this big-hearted boy.”


Eliza’s look of love

“Eliza is very attentive to me; she is constantly by my side. When we are training she has the MOST intent stare at me. Sometimes when it is time to eat and I am not getting to the food quick enough, she will nudge me with her nose. Don’t tell the other pups we’ve raised, but she is the smartest one yet!”

So many great qualities and temperaments! But did you know that even with all the characteristics and criteria that need to be considered, sometimes it’s the chemistry between the person and the dog that makes the match? There are moments when the trainers can see the connection immediately and they just know it’s right. Great dogs, great people and great trainers!

We will keep you posted on the progress of this amazing group of dogs. Their journey to extraordinary continues.

As always, thank you for following the E Litter!

Learn more about becoming a volunteer puppy raiser.

Donate to Canine Companions for Independence.

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Eukanuba, Puppy Raising, service dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Lights, Camera and…Action!

mattress discounters

Behind the scenes

This past December, our Northwest Training Center was full of lights, camera and action as Canine Companions for Independence’s promotional partner, Mattress Discounters, filmed a series of four commercials for their Good Deed Dog charity efforts.  Staff, graduates and their dogs were prepped in wardrobe and makeup for the cameras.

A comprehensive film crew spent two days interviewing our graduate teams and filming Canine Companions’ fantastic dogs doing the work they do best.  Our Schulz Campus served as a great set, and our graduate teams and dogs in professional training were the talk of the town among the film crew.  Large cameras and boom microphones can seem daunting, but the dogs loved the limelight.


Great casting!

These Good Deed Dog advertisements will be airing throughout the west coast starting in January and continuing through 2014 on television and radio. 100% of funds raised during this campaign will be donated to Canine Companions. Keep an eye out for some stellar canine superstars!

mattress discounters good deed dog

Check us out in the promo commercial

For more information about our partnership with Mattress Discounters and their Good Deed Dogs, visit their website at: www.mattressdiscountersdogs.com/.

And that’s a wrap!

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Mattress Discounters, service dogs | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Friends with the E Litter


Can you spot Elmo among all the bikes?

The E Litter is one charming group of pups! They give a smile and a tail wag whenever they get to meet someone new. Why are they so comfortable meeting new people? Because for the last 16 months, they have been working on their socialization skills.


Ella, making friends at the market.

When they are out and about in the community, the E Litter pups get to meet a variety of folks. The police officer allows them to get familiar with uniforms; the checker at the market allows them to interact in a loud and busy environment, the kids at the playground allow them to meet various small and “touchy” people and realize they are safe and friendly. So many great people, and so much love!


Euka and Emma, meeting friends at the library.

Making friends with the E Litter is not only a pleasure for those they meet, it’s also a very important part of their training. The journey to extraordinary continues and everyone that meets the E Litter is part of that adventure. To learn more about our puppy raising program, visit www.cci.org/puppyraiser.


Eliza taking a closer look.

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Eukanuba, puppies, Puppy Raising, service dogs | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Battier’s got game!

 Just before the New Year, Canine Companions puppy Battier had a meet and greet (and snuggle) with her namesake Miami Heat forward Shane Battier. The two met at the arena and took a few photos. “Shane loved meeting Battier” says volunteer puppy raiser, Laura Allen.battier_holding_battier

 Not only was this a great opportunity to share our mission and vision with Shane, but our puppy was able to experience a new environment. Every new adventure brings greater confidence to our dogs. Thank you Laura for the dedication, effort, and love you give to Battier.

For more information on becoming a volunteer puppy raiser, visit: www.cci.org/puppyraiser


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Dogs of Winter

eukaWith big storms rolling through much of the country, we would like to share some tips to keep your pup safe and healthy.

- De-icing products, salt, and ice, can get into fur and paws, causing skin irritation or more serious conditions. Thoroughly wipe dog’s paws and tummy when they come in from the cold and snow.

- Take care to wipe up any spilled antifreeze; dogs love the sweet (but deadly) taste. Better yet, consider using animal-friendly antifreeze products.

- Balls of ice between a dog’s toes can be painful. For some of the longer coated dogs, trimming the hair short between the toes and pads will help, and of course, keep those nails short too!

- When the weather prohibits taking a walk outside, exercise your dog indoors. Playing a game of hide-and-seek is great fun for pups and people alike.

Wishing you and your dog a happy, warm and safe winter.

For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, visit www.cci.org.

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

Happ-E Holidays!

E Litter pup, Emily, is ready for the holidays!

The E Litter pups have been enjoying the cooler weather, snuggling close to their volunteer puppy raisers, and dreaming about the gifts they will be bringing to a child, adult, or veteran with a disability.

The Gift of Peace
The peace of mind that comes to a child who’s sleeping alone for the first time because of the skilled companion curled by her side.

The Gift of Love
The love and bond that is formed between our graduates and the assistance dogs that provide so much.

The Gift of Joy
The joy that comes from knowing a life is forever changed because of the increased independence a Canine Companions service dog can bring.

Happy holidays!

While there may be many wonderful presents under the tree, none can compare to the gift of a cold nose and warm heart – woof!

The E Litter wishes you and yours the very best this holiday season and always.

p.s. – If you’d like to see more of the E Litter, click here to get our 2014 Calendar which features this amazing group of pups.

Featuring the E Litter

2014 E Litter Calendar

Posted in Assistance Dogs, Canine Companions, Eukanuba, puppies, Puppy Raising | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment