Nov 8 - Dec 31, 2018

Canine Companions for Independence

Mission

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence 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, free of charge to the recipients. The powerful relationship between our graduates and their dogs is at the heart of everything we do. We call these partnerships “teams.” Our dogs learn 40 skills to help increase the independence of our graduates. These include turning light switches on and off, tugging open doors, and retrieving dropped items.

The Big Idea

Providing ongoing support is critical to the success of our graduate teams. Our commitment to the long-term health and wellbeing of our graduates and graduate dogs is one reason why 98 percent of our teams are successful in the long run. Your help will allow us to support the eight teams now working in Monterey County, as well as support any potential new teams. Two of these teams now work at the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office. Facility Dog Odie has worked with victims of crime and their families since 2014. In that time, she has had 333 meetings with victims in addition to providing testimonial support for 48 victims and court support for 24. Odie’s services are in such demand that the office received another facility dog in August 2018.

Two Monterey County veterans are also receiving ongoing support. Canine Companions has just launched a pilot program to provide service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. We are reaching out to veterans’ services groups in Monterey County to identify candidates and get the word out about this important new project.

As the Victim/Witness Assistance Program Manager for the Monterey County District Attorney's office, I have witnessed Canine Companions Facility Dog Odie changing lives on a daily basis. In one case, a little girl was abused and lost her siblings. Odie was by her side through the funeral of her siblings, numerous interviews, and finally the trial of one of the murderers. Odie intuitively understands what people need. I have been privileged to witness Odie giving comfort to many victims of crime, as well as deputy district attorneys after very trying days in the courtroom. There really are no words that correctly describe how much Odie has enriched every person's life she comes in contact with. I came to Canine Companions in August to get another facility dog for the District Attorney's office and am looking forward to seeing the tremendous impact this dog will make as well.

- Pam Patterson