Canine Companions to Celebrate International Assistance Dog Week with Graduation Ceremony
08:00 AM, Monday, July 29
WHO: Canine Companions for Independence will commemorate International Assistance Dog Week with a graduation ceremony in which a new class of people with disabilities will formally receive their assistance dogs. The free, public event will also feature volunteer puppy raisers turning in the puppies they have been fostering for Canine Companions for the past 14 to 16 months.  Next, the puppies will embark on six to nine months of Professional Training with staff instructors in the hopes that they will one day become assistance dogs for people with disabilities.

WHAT:  The ceremony will include remarks by Canine Companions staff, the regional board president and the graduating class speaker. Volunteers turning in puppies for Professional Training will be recognized. Graduates will be given the leashes to their assistance dogs by the volunteers who raised them.

WHY: Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities completely free of charge.  Canine Companions assistance dogs are trained in up to 50 commands designed to make everyday life easier for adults and children with physical and developmental disabilities. They open and close doors, retrieve dropped objects and activate light switches. Outside of physical tasks, Canine Companions assistance dogs provide immeasurable emotional support to their human partners. The graduation ceremony is the culmination of an intensive, two-week, residential Team Training course completed by the new human-canine teams at Canine Companions’ Southwest Regional Training Center in Oceanside.

International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize of all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations. During International Assistance Dog Week (August 4-10), we recognize and honor the hardworking assistance dogs; raise awareness and educate the public about how these specially trained animals are aiding so many people in our communities; honor the puppy raisers and trainers of assistance dogs; and recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities.

WHEN: Friday, August 16, 2013 beginning at NOON

WHERE: QLN Conference Center’s Exhibit Hall, 1938 Avenida del Oro, Oceanside, CA 92056

MORE INFORMATION: Graduations are free and open to the public. Visit www.cci.org/swgraduation or call (760) 901-4300.

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