There wasn’t a dry eye in the house during Friday's Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) National Graduation Ceremony. More than 400 guests attended the ceremony in Santa Rosa, CA as Canine Companions graduated their 4000th assistance dog team. Four other ceremonies took place across the country in Southern California, Florida, New York and Ohio. All graduation ceremonies symbolize the starting point of a newly gained independence for a person with a disability as they receive a Canine Companions dog to become a partner in life.
During the event, Eukanuba Dog Foods presented a check to Canine Companions in the amount of $100,000 to sponsor a litter of puppies to help raise funding for Canine Companions and build awareness for the need of volunteer puppy raisers. This litter of puppies has been named the Eukanuba “E-Litter.” “We are very thankful for our partnership with Eukanuba and are always looking for creative ways to increase our volunteer base of puppy raisers to help with our mission,” said Jeanine Konopelski, Marketing Director for CCI. “Eukanuba’s E-Litter has become very popular with our existing supporters and has helped us gain first time donations from new fans,” said Konopelski.
As graduate teams leave the training centers to return home, new dogs will enter to begin their professional training. The training of these exceptional assistance dogs could not be possible without the volunteer efforts of puppy raisers. With more than 700 Canine Companions puppies born each year, with the goal of each to become successful assistance dogs, it takes many dedicated puppy raisers to train these dogs.
“We are very proud these amazing Canine Companions dogs are fueled by Eukanuba,” said Julie Franklin, Eukanuba’s Communications Coordinator. “It’s gratifying that the “E" Litter puppies have garnered so much attention for Canine Companions and the work of these amazing dogs. Three of the “E-Litter” pups will be living with Eukanuba employees who are puppy raisers for CCI’s North Central region, and we’re excited to follow their journey,” said Franklin.
Fans from around the world fell in love with the E-Litter puppies via Live Stream. Now that the puppies are with their puppy raisers, the Eukanuba and Canine Companions Facebook pages will feature videos, pictures and updates so fans can continue to follow the careers of these amazing dogs.
The “E-Litter” puppies will be going to puppy raisers across the US. One will be flying with their puppy raiser back to Denver utilizing the US Airways Puppies in Flight program. This program helps prepare future service dogs to travel on an airplane. US Airways employees volunteer their time and utilize travel benefits to transport and familiarize assistance dogs in training with aircraft and air travel in preparation for future flights with their disabled partners. Over the past 10 years, US Airways employees have participated in transports everywhere from California to Croatia.
About Canine Companions for Independence: Canine Companions for Independence provides highly-trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has five regional training centers across the country and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and ongoing follow-up services. For more information, visit cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.
About Eukanuba: Eukanuba offers the most complete food lineup, delivering nutrition that is customized by breed and breed size as well as health and performance requirements. Eukanuba is a division of Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). Visit us on the Web at http://www.eukanuba.com or at Facebook.com/Eukanuba.
About USAirways: Puppies In Flight is a partnership between US Airways and Assistance Dogs International (ADI), which trains and places assistance dogs around the world. US Airways employees volunteer their time and utilize travel benefits to transport and familiarize assistance dogs in training with aircraft and air travel in preparation for future flights with their disabled partners. Over the past 10 years, US Airways employees have participated in transports everywhere from California to Croatia.