Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Canine Companions for Independence?
Canine Companions for Independence is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
Q. What types of assistance dogs does Canine Companions for Independence train?
Service Teams - People with physical and/or developmental disabilities who work with a Canine Companion to enhance their ability to perform practical tasks such as retrieving dropped items, opening doors, and turning on and off light switches.
Hearing Teams - Adults who are hard of hearing or deaf who use a Canine Companion to alert them to everyday sounds such as telephones, alarm clocks, and smoke alarms.
Skilled Campanion Teams - Adults and children with disabilities who benefit from the social, interactive, and functional commands of a Canine Companion. This type of placement increases the communication, range of motion, and interactive skills of some recipients.
Facility Teams - Adults who work as professional care givers, educators, or in other settings that can utilize a Canine Companion to improve the mental, physical, or emotional health of individuals, young and old, in those settings.
Q. What does it cost to receive a Canine Companion?
There is no charge for a CCI dog assistance dog. Individual participants in our program are not responsible for any of the substantial costs involved in the lengthy process of breeding, raising, and training each Canine Companion.
Q. How is Canine Companions for Independence funded?
Canine Companions for Independence is funded by private contributions; gifts from businesses, civic groups, and service clubs; grants from corporations and foundations; and ongoing fundraising activities such as special events and mailings. Canine Companions for Independence receives no government funding.
Q. Where does the money go?
Canine Companions for Independence is proud that 83.5 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to program services. These services include breeding and puppy raising, canine and participant training, graduate follow up, public information and veterinary care. There is no charge to individuals or families for these services.
Q. Who is eligible to apply for a Canine Companion?
People with physical or developmental disabilities who can demonstrate that a Canine Companion will enhance their independence or their quality of life are qualified to apply. Also eligible are professionals working for organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with a facility dog.
Q. What is the application procedure?
Contact the regional center nearest you and ask for an application information packet. This packet includes an overview of Canine Companions for Independence's team programs and an Application Request Form that you need to complete to be considered for an assistance dog. The applicant coordinator in your region will review your completed request and assist you throughout the application process.
Q. What are the responsibilities of the person or facility receiving a Canine Companion?
Each candidate must successfully complete a two-week educational course at the regional center designed to match the person and dog and to prepare them to work together successfully. Each candidate is also responsible for the proper care, feeding, housing, and medical needs of the canine. The dog must be used in the working capacity for which it was intended.
Q. What breeds of dogs does Canine Companions for Independence use?
Canine Companions for Independence uses Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and crosses of these two breeds. Most of our dogs come from Canine Companions for Independence's selective breeding program. Occasionally, donated puppies are accepted if they meet the strict qualification requirements.
Q. Where are Canine Companions for Independence dogs trained?
Canine Companions for Independence puppies are raised by volunteers who take them to puppy classes and teach them in-house manners and public etiquette. When they are old enough to enter our formal training program, Canine Companions for Independence dogs come to one of our five regional training centers.
Q. How long does each Canine Companion work?
The average service life of each dog is eight years. After that time the dog is retired and will live out its golden years as a pet.