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May 18, 2010

First Assistance Dog Non-Profit Celebrates 35 Years of Independence

Santa Rosa, CA – It’s always fun to count in dog years. How old would you be if you calculate canine years? Yikes, that could be scary! But the nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence is proud to turn 245 dog-years old this year.

In 1975, the concept of an assistance dog to help people with physical disabilities was conceived. Thirty-five years later, Canine Companions assistance dogs have been provided to upwards of 3500 people, transforming lives through independence and doggie companionship.

Canine Companions was the first nonprofit to professionally train assistance dogs to help children and adults with physical disabilities. In addition, dogs are trained to assist the deaf and hard of hearing, and dogs work in facilities with groups of people in education, healthcare and courtroom settings. The specially bred Labrador and Golden Retrievers learn over 40 commands – open doors, turn off and on light switches, pick up dropped items that are out of reach, and alert their partners to important sounds, and more.

The highly trained dogs take two years to prepare and are provided free of charge by Canine Companions, thanks to donations received from individuals and corporations. Eukanuba, a Procter and Gamble brand, has partnered with Canine Companions for many years, providing grants and funding to the organization.

“It’s natural for Eukanuba to want to support Canine Companions for Independence,” said Julie Franklin, Eukanuba External Relations Specialist. “Eukanubas’ mission is to enhance the well-being of dogs through exceptional nutrition, and CCI’s mission is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing these exceptional assistance dogs. We are proud to support Canine Companions for Independence and make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities,” states Julie.

Two exciting opportunities to get involved:

Canine Companions provides exceptional dogs that change exceptional lives. Eukanuba provides exceptional nutrition. Together, they know the impact dogs have on people's lives. How has your dog changed your life?

Share your story and enter for a chance to win a year's supply of Eukanuba dog food. Stories accepted until July 4, 2010 (Canine Companions birthday) and finalists will be announced in July.

Visit http://www.cci.org/dogstory to submit your story on how your dog changed your life, or cci.org/35 to learn more about how Canine Companions is celebrating 35 years of independence.

Plus, right now a $35,000 donation match is going on to celebrate Canine Companions birthday. Thanks to Eukanuba all online donations to Canine Companions will be doubled. Visit http://www.cci.org/donate to learn more.

About Canine Companions for Independence:
Canine Companions for Independence is the largest non-profit provider of trained assistance dogs with five regional training centers across the country. Established in 1975, Canine Companions provides highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and on-going follow-up services. For more information, visit cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.
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