August 5, 2010 - Jim Smith
A Canine Companions for Independence service dog, his 24-year-old companion and the companion's parents told the Lions Club of Parkersburg Thursday how Rosie, a yellow Lab mix, has changed their lives.
The young man, who has severe disabilities, motor skill and verbal impairments and suffers seizures, about nine months ago had Rosie join his life as a service dog to obey 42 different commands to do a variety of tasks to make the man's life easier.
CCI, a nonprofit organization based in California, provides dogs trained for four types of assistance: for service to disabled people, for the hearing impaired, for facilities that work in health care settings and as skilled companions to enhance independence of those with physical, cognitive or development disabilities.
The dogs, which are bred for the tasks and raised by handler from the time they are puppies until their training begins at eight weeks and last until they are 18 months old, are matched to the individual's needs. Each dog's training costs about $45,000, but there is no charge to the dog's eventual recipient.
It was stressed, the dogs are not pets, but working companions for the recipient and are trained to concentrate on their companion, helping him or her however needed.
The dog's attention to her companion at Thursday's meeting was uncanny, even though the young man's parents actually were putting Rosie through her paces.
About 3,000 to 4,000 CCI dogs have been trained and given to persons in need, all at no cost to the recipient. All costs are financed through donations.
For more information on the fantastic services provided by these amazing dogs, contact cci.org