As we near Heartley’s first birthday, we get to reflect on his growth over the past year and all his accomplishments! Heartley arrived in St. Louis, Missouri on May 31, 2019 as a tiny 10 pound bundle of fluff. His volunteer puppy raiser, Cathy, remembers her first impression of Heartley, “He was sweet, calm, peaceful and happy. He was eager to learn new things and loved the water!”

Now, at 11 months old and 67 pounds, he’s much bigger but some things haven’t changed. His eagerness to learn has helped him become 98% proficient in all 30 commands before he was 8 months old, and he’s still the same sweet, calm and happy puppy.

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Heartley hasn’t only grown physically; his confidence and self-esteem grows more and more with each month. Heartley now enjoys practicing his commands at the grocery store, hardware store, library and park. He especially loves to visit Build-A-Bear Bearquarters and their new retail store in St. Louis where he gets to enjoy the company of his favorite bear, Bearemy.

Heartley is on his way to becoming a life-changing assistance dog. Cathy knows firsthand the impact these assistance dogs have. Sice her daughter, Shruthi, was matched with Skilled Companion Gambit, Cathy has witnessed Shruthi’s confidence soar with an assistance dog by her side.

“As a puppy raiser, it’s a joy to watch the transformation of one tiny puppy learning about the world around him to growing into a confident assistance dog in training who has mastered most of his 30 commands,” Cathy remarks. “It is an honor and privilege to be a part of Heartley’s journey and to give back to the Canine Companions community who has brought us so much.”

To learn more about volunteer puppy raising, click here.

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