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.

Book Review: Ask Anna by Dean Koontz and his dog Anna

Hi! Skye from here with my friend Kimber, a Canine Companions for Independence® service puppy hopeful, reviewing our latest good read:Ask Anna by Dean Koontz

When Kimber suggested this book, it didn’t surprise me. After all, Dean Koontz (storyteller extraordinaire and bestselling author) and his dog Anna (a Canine Companions for Independence® release dog) wrote it–so it had to be good!

In the book Ask Anna – Advice for the Furry and Forlorn, Dean’s dog, Anna, is a wise canine advice-columnist. She is also a beautiful golden retriever. Dogs from around the nation write to Anna about their problems and ask her for advice. Some questions are very serious…like “Dear Anna, Lately I have been depressed.”

Ask Anna by Dean Koontz

Other questions are funny, like “Dear Anna, When I turn my ears just so, I can see the future.” One dog REALLY liked Anna, if you know what I mean. She really put him in his place in a sweet yet clever way. We snorted at that one.

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.

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!