Emily Bengtson | 2013pic.org
The people and dogs of Canine Companions for Independence go everywhere together—and in two weeks, they’ll be marching together in the 2013 inaugural parade.
Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with highly-trained assistance dogs. Dogs help their owners with a range of needs, and their companionship increases their owner’s independence and quality of life.
One of those owners is Caroline, whose service dog, Sajen, has been with her for nine years. So when her mom, Carina, heard about the opportunity to apply to be a part of the inaugural parade, she jumped at the chance to spread the word about the organization that has done so much for her family.
"My daughter’s dog has been with her through thick and thin, through the most important parts of her life, and he makes it so much easier for her to connect with other people and with the world. Sajen has changed her life, and he’s never let us down. That’s why I really wanted to be a part of the parade—so that more people could hear about this organization, and want to get involved!"
Because of CCI’s incredible network of volunteers who raise and train the puppies, all of the dogs and services are provided to individuals free of charge. Carina says she’s especially excited about CCI marching in the parade because she thinks the sense of community and volunteerism within her organization is what the inauguration—and the Obamas—are all about. And she hopes that the folks lining the parade route will not just enjoy seeing the dogs proudly walking with their families, but also want to join their community.
"We’re so grateful for this chance for the world to know about CCI. The volunteers are thrilled to show everyone that this opportunity is out there to help enrich the lives of people with disabilities. I want more people like my daughter Caroline to be able to have a dog change their lives."
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