Dog Charities – Canine Companions for Independence

Combining the love of dogs and mankind to produce an amazing charity!

Canine Companions for Independence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

1-9-14 Bringing Kimber Home

See this furry puppy? This is the day I picked her up from the Canine Companions for Independence North Central Regional Training Center in Delaware, Ohio and brought her into my home.

Service dog

This adorable bundle of love is a service puppy in training. Over the next 18 months I will raise her, love her, feed her, care for her and train her in the 30 commands that she will need to go on to Advanced Training with the hope of becoming a service dog for a child or an adult with a physical disability other than blindness. And as I said many times before, all this is done for FREE.

Canine Companion service dog

Volunteers raise the puppies for free so that the people who need these dogs can get them for free. It’s as simple as that.

Free Service Dogs

Is anything free anymore? Canine Companions for Independence® makes sure that their service dogs are free to qualified applicants with physical disabilities other than blindness.

Canine Companions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

Service dogs are expensive, estimated to cost approximately $50,000 to fund the breeding, training and on-going follow-up service after the dog is placed.

Canine Companions for Independence

Then how can Canine Companions for Independence® give these dogs to people free of charge? Corporate sponsors and people from all over the country, folks like you who volunteer to spread awareness, care for litters, raise puppies and raise money do so willingly so that those who need service dogs can have them free of charge, without having to do any personal fundraising. That’s why I support this organization.

Service dog

At 8 weeks of age, each puppy is raised by a puppy raiser. They are responsible for providing food, shelter and medical care. They love them, potty train them and teach them the 30 commands necessary so that when they are 18 months they can go to Advanced Training–what puppy raisers call “Puppy College.” There they train with professional trainers who take the 30 commands learned to the next level with the hope that they’ll graduate and be placed with their forever person.

Memorial Day: Service Dog Changes Wounded Veteran’s Life

I’m a proud puppy raiser, supporter and fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence®. As Memorial Day approaches and we honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for us, it warms my heart to hear stories of surviving veterans and the help they are receiving from Canine Companions, service dogs given to qualifying veterans free of charge. One such recipient, U.S. Army Capt. James Van Thach, was featured this morning on the Today Show. His service dog, Liz, has returned his independence and changed the wounded veteran’s life. What a team. What an honor.


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Vermilion Ice-a-Fair Goes to the Dogs

Dog lovers, what do you do on a rainy, cold, February winter in the Midwest? You wander Main Street in Vermilion, Ohio admiring fantastic ice sculptures in search of the one that looks like a dog.

dog ice sculpture

Canine Companions Ice Sculpture at Vermilion Ice-A-Fair

But not just any dog. The dog you’re searching for is a replica of Ben, a Canine Companions for Independence® service puppy in training.

Staicey & Ben

Ben’s puppy raiser, Vermilion resident Staicey Scholtz and her husband Brad, donated the ice sculpture replica of Ben to display at the Sixth Annual Ice-A-Fair to Remember in downtown Vermilion. More than 50 ice sculptures of different styles were on display at the event, along with ice carving demonstrations, tours on Lolly the Trolly and visits from Frosty the Snowman. Standing in front of their ice mascot, puppy raisers and volunteers from Canine Companions for Independence® Northern Ohio Volunteer Group were on hand to answer questions about puppy raising for the non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing free of charge, highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. They were also there to have fun!

Canine Companions for Independence® Service Dogs Change Hearts

A Change of Heart

Canine Companions for Independence® service dogs in training.

It was a few minutes before nine on a Thursday morning. I arrived at the Greater Cleveland RTA rapid transit station with my service dog in training to meet seven Canine Companions for Independence® puppy raisers with their puppies and two graduate teams. We were there for a highly publicized field trip to downtown Cleveland, a chance to introduce the hopeful service puppies to the sights and sounds of Cleveland and to train in situations the pups had not yet experienced.

It was also an opportunity to showcase Canine Companions for Independence®, 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.

We greeted each other with smiles and wags, excited to have this opportunity. The puppies that day ranged from 5 months to 17 months and kept pace with the more mature graduate dogs. They were a perfect example of start and finish.

Canine Companions for Independence Service Pup in Training Does BlogPaws

By Guest Blogger: Melba II

With the Help of: Bonnie Sweebe

Hi! I’m Melba, a Canine Companions for Independence service puppy in training. I’m so very excited because I just went to my first blogging conference called BlogPaws! goes to BlogPaws 2013 with Melba

What is a BlogPaws? Why did I go? I asked Mom those exact same questions.

She said BlogPaws is a HUGE pet blogging conference. “What’s a blogger?” I asked. Mom said bloggers have a very important job to do. They write about pet health, new products and issues that bring dogs and mankind together. Cool!

She said the people at BlogPaws care about pets. They recognize the good things we do to make the world a kinder gentler place. BlogPaws is a blogging and social media conference that brings all of those people together to learn, connect and have fun. I like fun, so I agreed to go.

After all, I wrote this post, so I must be a blogger, too!

Easter Dogs

Easter Dogs

Melba poses with her first Easter basket.


As a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence, I am always looking to introduce new situations and stimuli to my puppy in training, Melba. A trip to the mall on the first day of spring sounded just about right. Here is Melba (the 3rd pup from the left, right by the bunny’s knee) and the Northeastern Ohio gang of CCI pups in training getting their photo taken with the Easter Bunny. We received tons of compliments on their amazing behavior.The secret? CCI’s breeding program produces extremely bright puppies with excellent temperaments. Just add training. They are an Easter blessing indeed.

Easter dogs

Puppy Cam – Canine Companions for Independence Service Dogs!

Puppy Cam – Service Dogs are Born!

By: Bonnie Sweebe

Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is my favorite non-profit organization.  It provides highly-trained assistance dogs and ongoing support that enhance the lives of children, adults and wounded veterans with disabilities other than blindness.

Meet Melba II, the 8 month old labrador/golden mix that I am raising for CCI.  As a puppy raiser, I know first hand what care is taken to train these pups to be future service dogs that are given free of charge to individuals that can demonstrate a need.  Raising Melba II is an honor and a privilege.
Canine Companions for Independence

Thanks to great sponsors like Eukanuba and support from other fine corporations and donors like you, Canine Companions for Independence can continue with their mission to breed, train and place Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People.  If you’d like more information about CCI or would like to donate to a wonderful cause, please CLICK HERE.  Otherwise, meet our newest batch of service dogs, the E litter, born to Taya.  Enjoy the puppy cam!


Woofstock 2010

By: Bonnie Sweebe

I just returned from a refreshing Sunday afternoon of washing dogs at The Grateful Dog Bakery’s Woofstock Fun Fest 2010.

This was my very first Woofstock event and I wasn’t there as a vendor for, either. I was there as a human being, raising money for one of my favorite organizations, Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).

The setting for the hippy dippy summer festival of doggy love was four acres of yard behind The Grateful Dog Bakery. Music, vendors, agility trials, fly ball, wiener dog races, even a pie eating contest for man and dog were just some of the events. Billy Rafferty, Oprah’s dog groomer and author of Happy Dog: Caring for Your Dog’s Body, Mind and Spirit, renowned animal portrait artist Michael Vistia and a wide variety of dog rescue and adoption groups were present.

Also there were two extremely well behaved CCI puppies in training. These gorgeous puppies wore their CCI vests like veterans. Needless to say, they were a huge draw. Local CCI volunteers washed dog after dog after dog and enjoyed every sloppy kiss received. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!