About Canine Companions

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

The assistance dogs we breed, raise and train aren’t just the ears, hands and legs of their human partners. They’re also goodwill ambassadors and often, their best friends. They open up new opportunities and new possibilities and spread incredible joy. We unite people with dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence and confidence.

We provide service dogs for:

Adults – Adults with disabilities are partnered with service or hearing dogs to increase independence.

Children – Assistance dogs perform physical tasks for children with a range of disabilities to increase independence with support from an adult.

Veterans – Wounded veterans and veterans with disabilities are matched with assistance dogs for greater independence*.

Professionals – Assistance dogs are expertly trained and partnered with a working professional in a health care, visitation, criminal justice or education setting.

Stories of Independence

Knightly & Cadbury

Knightly, who has Down syndrome and apraxia, was matched with an assistance dog named Cadbury, a two-year-old black Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, professionally trained in over 40 commands to help Knightly live a more independent life.

Cadbury has been able to assist Knightly by encouraging communication, behavioral reinforcement, speech production, social inclusion, and so much more. Cadbury is more than a best friend — he is an important partner in independence for Knightly.

“Our family has grown by four paws and an incredible group of ambassadors who show that a life with a disability is full of hope, opportunity and community,” Knightly’s parents, David and Drexelle share. “Our son has found his best friend who loves and plays with him, no questions asked.”

Leigh & Nerf

Leigh Dittman was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, which makes her bones weaker than normal and more prone to fractures. When it was time for her to apply for college, she knew that she would need physical help. That’s where Service Dog Nerf enters the picture.

”Nerf was the perfect match for me and now, with him by side, I am able to attend The University of Tampa and achieve my college dream. This wouldn’t have happened without Canine Companions.” shares Leigh.

When Leigh is at school or running errands, she needs some physical assistance. Nerf assists by retrieving dropped items, pulling Leigh’s manual wheelchair and other tasks that enable Leigh to be more independent and involved around campus and in life.

Welcome to the Canine Companions DIY Fundraising Site!

The site allows you to dedicate your special event, run/walk, barbeque, etc. and support our mission of providing highly trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities at no charge to the recipient. You can now raise money for Canine Companions your way!

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Your support will give the gift of independence and give a dog a job!

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Run a race. Host a barbeque. Organize a dog wash.

Or get creative by dedicating a birthday, holiday or anniversary for donations.

Whatever your idea is, everything you need is right here. Register to activate your fundraising page and get started! Together we can change lives, four paws at a time.™