Canine Companions fosters transformative change through human-canine partnerships

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
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Canine Companions connects a variety of assistance dogs with those who need them most.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Leading the service dog industry, Canine Companions expertly trains puppies to become skilled assistants for adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. The furry helpers are paired up with clients for unique support that's free of charge.

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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