Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) announced that it has received its millionth dollar in support from The Iams Company. Iams’ support of the Healthy Canine Initiative goes towards medical supplies, heart and eye exams, medical treatment, external lab fees, imaging and surgical fees, and extraordinary veterinary care for CCI’s highly-trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
To help CCI meet the increasing demand for service dogs, The Iams Company has also sponsored 30 Canine Companion Teams all over the United States. A Canine Companion Team consists of a fully-trained Canine Companion and a person who has completed CCI’s team training program.
“It’s natural for Iams to want to support Canine Companions for Independence,” said Connie McKamey, manager of Iams corporate contributions. “Iams’ mission is to enhance the well-being of dogs and cats, and CCI’s mission is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing these very special assistance dogs.”
Iams also provides Starter Kits to all CCI’s graduating teams and to volunteer puppy raisers when they pick up their seven-week-old pups. (CCI depends on teams of puppy raisers for housing, obedience training, and socialization until the dogs are 13 to 18-months-old and ready for advanced training.)
“Iams’ continuing generosity gives us the highest quality healthcare for these highly valuable dogs,” reported Corey Hudson, CCI’s executive director. “And by sponsoring six teams in each of our five regions, Iams is giving nationwide support to what we think is the perfect example of the human-animal bond.”
Canine Companions for Independence is a provider of assistance dogs in the United States for people with disabilities other than blindness. CCI offers four categories of dogs that serve a wide range of people with disabilities, including those with Multiple Sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, hearing loss and developmental delay. Service Dogs are trained to perform physical tasks such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped objects, opening doors and drawers, and flipping switches for lights or automatic doors. Skilled Companion Dogs assist children with disabilities and adults with severe disabilities under the supervision of a facilitator-a parent, spouse or caregiver. Hearing Dogs help people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing by alerting them to key sounds such as a knock at the door, a smoke alarm, or someone addressing them by name. Facility Dogs work alongside healthcare and educational professionals in settings such as Rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and special education classrooms. There is no charge for the dog, its training or ongoing follow-up services. To learn more about the organization or to find out about local chapters, please visit the CCI Web site.