The Important Role of Volunteer Puppy Raisers at Canine Companions for Independence
Nine months ago when Chloe and I put our hands and paws to the keyboard to create Happy-Go-Doodle, it was hard to imagine that dog blogging would open doors to so many new adventures. On our most recent adventure, we met an amazing group of volunteer puppy raisers at the Kansas City Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence.
By loving dogs, people come together.
As the recipient of the 2017 BlogPaws social media award for best new pet blog, we had the honor and privilege of giving a donation to the nonprofit of our choice on behalf of sponsor, Pet360 Media. I chose the Kansas City Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence as the recipient. Through raising assistance dogs, they give greater independence to others. What a joyful purpose. The local chapter is part of the national organization with this mission:
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. – Canine Companions for Independence
Not to mention, they do it all free of charge for adults, children and veterans with disabilities.
In addition to presenting the donation, I was honored to be a guest at a chapter member field trip. I got to see the work of puppy raisers in action as we met Bowser, an eight-week-old puppy. He was arriving in Kansas City to begin his journey as a puppy in training.
This adorable fellow arrived at the airport and into the welcoming arms of a puppy raiser. Also, he was greeted by several other volunteers and a young pup in training. Bowser was ready with a smile for his new pack. As the team made sure he was all set to head to his new home, it was clear that his journey was already beginning.
Under the care of Sally, his puppy raiser, Bowser will…
- learn over 30 commands
- gain socialization skills by going on field trips to restaurants, fire stations, airports, festivals, and more
- receive special training from an approved trainer
- enjoy lots of play time.
Bowser will be in Sally’s care for approximately 18 months. When he’s successfully completed this part of his adventure, Sally will have done her job as a puppy raiser and laid the foundation for his special future as an assistance dog. Bowser will then embark on a new journey to the North Central Regional Center where he will continue his professional training.
Meet the Puppy Raisers and Volunteers
A couple of months later, I got to see Bowser again at the Kansas City chapter meeting. Bowser and the other puppies in training patiently waited while the chapter members discussed upcoming events and field trips. Throughout the meeting, I learned about the generosity of this team of doers. Through their dedication and commitment to serving others, many of the volunteers had raised more than one puppy. Debbie and Linda took a team approach to puppy raising and shared in Nero’s care. Charon had raised 14 Canine Companions for Independence puppies. What an inspiration!
Charon, Sally, Debbie, Linda, and all the other puppy raisers share their homes, time, and love with their pups in training. Not only do they teach their pups good manners, commands, and socialization skills, they provide for them financially. This includes making sure the pups have everything they need–from food to medical visits to transportation.
Puppy Raisers Support Each Other
Additionally, the Kansas City volunteers have a spirit of community. The members take their pups on field trips to fire stations, restaurants, festivals, and even train rides. Bowser not only interacts with his own puppy raiser, but all the volunteers and puppies who are working toward a common goal.
Raise a puppy, change a life
At the end of the meeting, I presented the donation check to Linda with puppy Nero’s help. As we posed for pictures, I noticed the message on Linda’s shirt: RAISE A PUPPY, CHANGE A LIFE. These very special future assistance dogs would transform the lives of others through their service and companionship. What a joy!
While Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe could not attend the chapter meeting, her look-a-like bobblehead was on hand for a meet and greet with the pups. An inquisitive Nero, had a happy “hello” sniff to share.
THANK YOU, puppy raisers and puppies in training
After all our adventures with the CCI crew, Chloe and I were happy to have met such wonderful pups and people. Because of the volunteer work of puppy raisers, dogs like Bowser are headed toward a very special future of giving independence and friendship to people who need them most.
What a joyful purpose.
Would you like to learn more?
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Canine Companions for Independence puppy raiser, visit cci.org.
If you or someone you know might benefit from a Canine Companions for Independence assistance dog, visit, Is a Dog Right for You? at cci.org.
Thank you for sharing in our adventures.
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