Canine Companions begins training service dogs as puppies. For each puppy's first year of life, volunteers socialize the young animal to a variety of people, sites, sounds, and environments, making sure that they're learning 30 plus commands.
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Once past the "puppy phase," the volunteer brings the dog to the Canine Companions' professional training centers to learn more advanced commands.
Depending on training received, a full-grown dog is specially matched with a child or adult.
"We know that once you've lived with a service dog, it really enhances your independence, and it's so important to continue that relationship," said Service Dog Mom, Jeanette Kaliska.
Canine Companions seeks to foster a transformative relationship through the power of a human-canine partnership.
"They're there for me, and I feel like they're an extension of me, part of my heart and soul," said Kaliska. "I know that if I want to do something they're there, and I can do it."
Service is extended to adults with physical or auditory disabilities, children with physical or cognitive disabilities who require the assistance of a facilitator, veterans with a physical or auditory disability or PTSD, and more.
"Imagine for those of us who don't need a service dog, having to ask someone for help to open a door or to pick up a dropped item, or maybe you can't hear your name being called or a fire alarm," explained Michelle Williams of Canine Companions. "It really is impactful to have these service dogs, and I think it's wonderful to remember how important they are."
To learn more about Canine Companions, visit here.
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