Canine Companions for Independence:
Creativity at Work
Combining good leadership skills and creativity can produce outstanding results. One organization that embraces both leadership and creativity is Canine Companions for Independence. This 501(c) 3 recognizes the potential impact of the human/canine bond and takes the partnership between humans and dogs to a higher level. Click on the image at the left to view a short video of the incredible ability of dogs to provide life enhancing service to their human companions.
Early in history, humans recognized the importance of teaming with dogs. There is also an argument to be made that the ancestors of present day dogs recognized the benefit of joining the human family. In any case, the partnership between humans and dogs increased the likelihood of success for both species. However, it was not solely a partnership of convenience and mutual assistance. Man and dog became lifelong partners and dogs joined the family as recognized and much loved members.
Canine Companions for Independence understands the power of the human/canine bond.
The organization pairs highly trained assistance dogs - free of charge - with individuals with disabilities. The goal is increased independence. Since its founding in 1975 the organization has placed more than 5,200 dogs, including just over 175 dogs with U.S. veterans of foreign wars.
Canine Companions trains and places four different types of assistance dogs. There are service dogs for adults with physical disabilities. Skilled companion dogs, which are generally placed with children, but sometimes with adults, make up a team when there's a need for another person to help handle the dog. Hearing dogs serve deaf and hard-of-hearing adults. Additionally, facility dogs that work alongside professionals in various settings, such as healthcare, courtroom, and educational environments provide a variety of therapeutic benefits to clients.
Canine Companions dogs are trained in more than 40 different commands, ranging from picking up dropped items as small as a dime or as big as prosthetic limb, pulling manual wheelchairs, turning lights on and off, and opening doors. Hearing dogs are trained to alert their handlers to specific sounds in the environment and then actually lead them to the source of the sound.
Most recently, in partnership with the Veterans Administration, the organization is conducting a long-term study on the benefits of pairing trained assistance dogs with veterans to mitigate the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. The future undoubtedly holds more creative ways that dogs can support the existence of humans.
For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, link to the organizational website.