Drew from Pet Express visited the Canine Companions for Independence campus this past week to tour the facility, and to attend graduation! Here at Pet Express, we pick up the CCI puppies on a regular basis from the facility to deliver them to their puppy raisers as tiny little fur balls. 14-16 months later, after being trained by their puppy raisers, we help return these pups back to campus!
Back on campus, the dogs attend another 6-9 month training course with professional instructors. During the first two weeks the pups are screened, undergoing x-rays and medical tests, along with a personality analysis to evaluate their temperament. They then go through two semesters of continued training. The first 3 month semester is where they build upon the basic obedience the pups were taught by their puppy raisers. Here, too, is where they begin to work around the wheelchair and learn to retrieve commands.
During the second semester they finish learning their pull and light switch commands. They learn over 40 more commands at this stage. Here is where they are assessed again to see if they truly have what it takes to become a Canine Companion Assistance Dog. If they pass, they then prepare for team training. This is where they are paired with a recipient, and both train together.
Team training is a two-week session teaching proper care and handling of each other. After their training sessions and social and public access testing, they attend a graduation ceremony. Here, the puppy raisers pass the leash of their now highly trained Canine Companion Assistance Dog in what can only be described as a heartwarming dream come true for so many recipients and lookers-on.
Drew was able to witness this amazing event and see our service come full circle. Pet Express is so proud to be CCI’s transport partner of these phenomenal animals.