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Teaching puppies to be man’s best helpers

Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 11:19 am

Terri Laundon (in red) with her deeply socialized puppy.

Terri Laundon (in red) with her deeply socialized puppy.

Raising a puppy through its most difficult stages to young adulthood and then giving it away seems like a hard thing to do. But it’s what members of the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) hoped to recruit people to do at a meeting in Heathsville on Saturday morning.
About 30 people gathered to learn about the CCI program, which raises dogs to serve in four different capacities. There are service dogs that help adults with physical disabilities; hearing dogs that help those with impaired hearing; skilled companions for those with cognitive disabilities; and facility dogs that work in educational and healthcare settings. It takes six to nine months of training to get a dog ready for its work, but it has to be raised before that training can start. Volunteers for doing that raising were what CCI was looking for in Heathsville.
Bryna Brennan and Eliot Levinson, both of Northumberland County, have been involved in puppy raising for CCI and arranged for Beverley Bouse of the Richmond-based Old Dominion Chapter of CCI to come talk with area residents about the program.
Bouse said that the volunteer puppy raisers undertake to raise the puppies, expenses and all and then give them up at about 20 months. By then, the puppy raisers should have given the young dogs some basic training and socialization, she said.

-Pick up the Jan. 29 issue of the Northumberland Echo to read the full story!