My experience getting a service dog with Canine Companions:
In 2019 after my major back reconstruction surgery and a month in a hospital plus New Orange Hills Nursery/Rehab center I came back home and realized how helpless I was. Yes, I did have some help from IHSS, some help from my friends and a little help from my kids (8 and almost 5 y.o. at that time) but having no family and no companion took a burden on me. Right at that moment I\’ve realized that how great it would be to have a dog as a companion. But then again, who will be helping me to clean and train the dog. I started to share my thoughts and dreams with friends and my surroundings and found out that there is such organization as Canine Companions that organize the process of breeding and raising healthy Labrador puppies and train them for people with disabilities for 2-2,5 years until they \”graduate\”. I went to their site immediately and applied for the service dog. It wasn\’t the easiest \”journey\” for me for sure. I had to provide a lot of information on my health condition, living condition, fill out some forms with my doctors and then…we hit the pandemic time that seemed to put all people\’s lives on hold. Anyway, after a little over two years\’ time I\’ve received the invitation for two weeks training with the service dog May 1-15 this year (2022). I could not believe it and hold my emotions. I made sure I had some \”time off\” with my kids and all the work projects that I was doing remotely. The training was very intense and required full day in the class and believe it or not we had a \”homework\” to do in the evening after the studies. What could we possibly learn about the dogs that would require so much time and efforts? Well, like our trainers said: \”The dogs are highly trained, not it\’s time for us to train you\”:) I spent two weeks bounding with my new dog and learnt a lot about the dogs, their behavior and different ways to motivate or correct them. I wish this kind of training we could all have about the kids before we have them. 14-th of May I happily graduated at Oceanside/South West Region of Canine Companions with my service dog Shauna. Videos and pictures will be uploaded here.
Here is more information on South West Region:
Canine Companions places service dogs with children, adults and veterans with disabilities, as well as with professionals working in visitation, healthcare and education settings.
Imagine having a dog that could turn on lights, pick up dropped keys and open a door. Canine Companions service dogs are partnered with adults with physical disabilities to assist with daily tasks and increase independence by reducing reliance on other people. A service dog can pull their partner in a manual wheelchair, push buttons for elevators or automatic doors, and even assist with business transactions by transferring money, receipts, and packages.