This weekend isn’t only about Independence Day celebrations, Canine Companions for Independence is celebrating its 40th anniversary too!
“This anniversary is not just an anniversary, but a special opportunity for us to say thank you to the thousands of people who have made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities over the past 40 years,” said Paul Mundell, CEO of Canine Companions for Independence. “Our growth and success since 1975 has stemmed from working with amazing breeder caretakers, puppy raisers, instructors, volunteers, staff, and, of course, our graduate teams. From our first service dog, Abdul, to honoring our 4,500th placement last year, together, we celebrate 40 years of independence.”
Over these past 40 years, CCI has been helping people with disabilities with its four types of assistance dogs that know how to obey more than 40 specialized commands: service dogs, skilled companions, hearing dogs and facility dogs.
So far, the organization has trained and placed more than 4,750 assistance dogs with program graduates, including 130 dogs with wounded military veterans and more than 1,200 dogs with children.
“Our 40th anniversary is a chance not only to look back at our achievements, but also look ahead to the great things that are on the horizon,” said Jean Schulz, National Board Member and Board Chair Emeritus. “As a Canine Companions Board Member since 1986, I can truly say that I am confident that Canine Companions will retain its legendary ‘family feeling,’ especially as it explores new science and concepts that will enable this special organization to place more highly trained assistance dogs with the people who need them.”
Canine Companions for Independence/Facebook
The organization provides all dogs and services free of charge. Not one individual participant in the program has shouldered any of the substantial costs involved in the lengthy process of breeding, raising and training each CCI dog.
“When I first started raising puppies with Canine Companions, most people didn’t even know about assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities,” says Marty Marlatt. “I get back so much more out of puppy raising than what I’ve put into it. You’ll change someone’s life as a puppy raiser. How could you not do that?”
Over the next few months, Canine Companions for Independence will be recognizing its 40th anniversary at the annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll events across the US.
This event brings together dozens of communities to support Canine Companions’ annual fundraising campaign.