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Canine Partners for Life is dedicated to training service dogs, home companion dogs, and residential companion dogs to assist individuals who have a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities.
When a dog picks up a dime or pays a cashier, you can almost see a light bulb go off in their head and they instantly realize how this dog is going to make them independent.
After working as a special education teacher, Darlene Sullivan founded Canine Partners for Life (CPL). Her original goal was to train guide dogs for the blind, but soon realized there was a much greater need for other types of service dogs. At that time, waiting lists for service dogs were about five to seven years long. With CPL, Darlene hoped to shorten the wait time for the individuals who were so badly in need.
Now, 20 years later, CPL operates on their own 45 acre property where they breed and train puppies to become service dogs. Training a service dog takes around two-and-a-half years. Puppies first start their training at 9 weeks old, when they are sent to live with a host family or a prison inmate to learn basic obedience and manners.
On their first birthday, they are sent back to CPL to train full time with one of the three trainers on staff. CPL trains up to 28 dogs at a time.
The dogs learn a variety of specialized skills, tailored specifically to the recipient they will be placed with. Some dogs learn how to alert people to seizures and cardiac events up to an hour before they occur, while others can pick up a dime and hand it to their owner. Still others can open and close doors, help people get dressed and undressed and can even provide support and momentum to people who have trouble walking.
Once trained, the dogs are introduced to the human they will be helping.
These recipients come to the facility for three weeks of classes where they learn how to use and care for the dog. For the recipients, these weeks are extremely uplifting as they see the service dogs making them more independent, helping them live the life they want.
With over 20 years of training under their belt, CPL continues to provide service dogs that can make a world of a difference to someone with disabilities.
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Canine Partners for Life trains service dogs allowing people with either physical or cognitive disabilities to live the independent life they want.