This is Rockwell, the second service dog puppy I raised for Canine Companions for Independence.
For 18 months, I was responsible for Rockwell's basic training and socialization, making sure he was exposed to as many sights, sounds and experiences as possible--so that he would know how to behave and not be scared or distracted when actually working as a service dog.
Then I (sniff) turned him back in to the experts at Canine Companions for Independence. After six months of advanced training, learning to retrieve dropped items, open doors and drawers, turn on light switches, and more, he was placed with a human partner. He is now a working Facility Dog, assisting a teacher in a classroom of children with autism.
I can't raise a dog while I'm living overseas, but I can't imagine NOT raising another CCI puppy when I return!
These dogs are life-changing for the people they serve. And although the cost of raising a service dog from breeding through advanced training is about $50,000, CCI provides the dogs free of charge. The entire cost is funded by private donations!
I also volunteer my services as a photographer to Canine Companions, and am proud that many of my images have been used in training and marketing materials. For more information about CCI, please visit www.cci.org