CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE
Lions Project for Lions have supported Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) since its very beginning in the 1970’s. The Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence (LPCCI), a Lions foundation, was formed in 1983 as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization to further create awareness and provide support for Canine Companions for Independence in their endeavor to provide highly trained dogs to assist adult and children with disabilities.
LPCCI is comprised of an all-volunteer Board of Directors, Area Directors and Trustees who devote their time and effort in making Lions all over the United States aware of this magnificent program through presentations at club meetings, district meeting and conventions, and through fundraisers, exhibits, and seminars.
From its small beginning in California, LPCCI has grown through support from Lions Clubs in states zig-zagging across the nation, from California to Maine, from Oregon to Florida. Through the generosity of Lions, Lionesses and Leos, LPCCI is able to provide additional funds to support CCI’s on-going operations and their desire to expand so that each year more and more individuals with disabilities will be provided assistance dogs. Our ultimate goal is to reach Lions Clubs in every state that will participate in this most worthwhile program that provides exceptional people.
CCI PROVIDES FOUR TYPES OF ASSISTANCE DOGS:
Assist adults with physical disabilities for performing practical daily tasks such as turning light switches on and off, opening and closing doors, pulling manual wheelchairs, and retrieving dropped items.
SKILLED COMPANION DOGS:
Assist children with disabilities and adults with severe disabilities under the supervision of a facilitatorundefineda parent, spouse, or caregiver who handles and cares for the dog. In addition to providing physical assistance, Skilled Companion Dogs play an important role in boosting confidence and alleviation feelings of isolation.
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.
Work alongside health care and educational professionals in settings such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and special education classrooms. Their calm temperament and unconditional love make them ideal for interacting with and motivation people of all ages.
THE PROCESS OF PROVIDING HIGHLY TRAINED ASSISTANCE DOGS BEGINS WITH CCI’s BREEDING AND PUPPY RAISING PROGRAMS:
CCI PUPPIES are born in the homes of volunteer breeder caretakers. These volunteers provide permanent homes to CCI’s homes to CCI’s breeder dogs and nurture newborn pops until the reach about eight weeks of age.
The pups are than placed with volunteer puppy raisers for the next 13 to 18 months where they learn basic obedience and socialize with people in a variety of public setting. As confident young dogs, they are ready for their next stop--- Advanced Training at a CCI regional center.
ADVANCED TRAINING is a highly structured program for CCI dogs that lasts six to nine months. During this training professional CCI instructors teach the dogs to master roughly 30 specialized commends. Upon successful completion, the dogs enter Team Training, where they are matched with an adult or child with a disability.
TEAM TRAINING is an intensive two-week course conducted several times a year at each of CCI’s five regional centers. During Team Training, participants are matched with and learn how to apply the skills of an assistance dog. The curriculum includes dog handling and care, training methods, commands and field trips.
GRADUATION celebrates the accomplishment of each graduate team and marks the beginning of a new stage in CCI’s commitment to their success.
CCI SUPPORT SERVICES help graduate teams remain active for an average of eight to ten years. Follow-up services include in-person visits, telephone and e-mail communication, and regular training workshops.
When a dog is ready to retire, CCI assists graduates in the process of re-applying for a successor assistance dog.