Autism Bay Area May/June 2012 : Page 26

Canine Companions for Independence FAQs What does your organization do? Canine Companions provides highly-trained assistance dogs for individuals with disabilities, free of charge. What is the process? The appilcation process takes 3-6 months. If accepted, you will go on the waiting list. You will be contacted to schedule a 2 week training. Are there costs involved? For team training, Canine Companions provides everything ex-cept transportation to/from the training center, breakfasts, and dinners. Lunch is provided by volunteers most days (not week-ends). What is the cost to the organization? Canine Companions estimates that our cost is about $10,000 for the organization per student for their two weeks of train-ing. This is paid through donations from businesses, individuals, and foundations. When not working, Palua is a regular dog – a side that the public never sees people in to ask about the dog and this gives Abbi a chance to talk with them. Whereas without the dog, people would tend to stay away from the girl staring at the ground wearing rifle range ear protection. Palua also will, on command, put her upper body on Abbi’s lap and her face into Abbi’s, immediately arresting “self stim” behavior and provide some warm constant pressure. The dog will lay on Abbi until Abbi falls asleep and has learned to tell exactly when that is. Finally, Palua makes it possible for our whole family to do things together again and to regain some spontane-ity and independence. A service dog is not a cure for Autism. But now, Abbi is the girl with the dog instead of a girl with Autism. Eric Roman is a Bay Area native. He and his family have come to rely on the rich grass-roots support found in the East Bay for families of children with special needs. What happens after the training is completed? After graduation, follow up support from our training depart-ment is provided free of charge. However, the regular expenses of having a dog would be a cost to consider (dog food, vet bills, flea & heartworm treatment, toys, etc.) Where are you located? Canine Companions has 5 regional centers located throughout the United States: Santa Rosa, CA; Oceanside, CA; Delaware, OH; Medford, NY; and Orlando, FL. Can we view the campus? Tours are available during the week at our Jean & Charles Schulz campus in Santa Rosa, CA. They can learn more by visiting cci. org/nwtours. Where can we get more inforamtion? Please go to www.cci.org or call 1-866-CCI-DOGS (224-3647) or write to PO Box 446, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-0446 26 | Autism Bay Area Magazine | May-June 2012 | www.autismbayarea.com

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