When Canine Companions for Independence recently visited FCA US headquarters, the most popular representative of the organization was Calvin.
Although Calvin didn’t take the stage to discuss the mission of the organization, which provides service dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities, or the on-going partnership between Canine Companions for Independence and Chrysler, everyone in attendance gravitated to him.
Why did he attract so much attention? It is not often a puppy visits the office during a workday.
Calvin, and his volunteer trainer Fran Hocking, are local representatives for Canine Companions for Independence and shared anecdotes about being part of the organization.
“I picked Canine Companions because of their history of breeding quality dogs and their training program,” said Hocking, of Wixom, who is now training her fifth puppy for the organization. “If I was going to donate my resources and my time to raise a puppy, I wanted to make sure it was really free to the recipient.”
Calvin is one of more than 200 Canine Companions for Independence puppies who are in the midst of 14 to 18 months of training with volunteer puppy raisers such as Hocking. These puppy raisers provide basic obedience training, socialization and care.
The 42-year-old organization has a presence in all 50 states, with more than 3,000 volunteers nationwide and more than 5,200 placements of a person and a dog during that time.
One of Calvin’s peers, a golden/Labrador retriever cross named Foley, is being featured in an online social initiative by Chrysler and Canine Companions for Independence to chronicle his growth and raise awareness for the organization’s “Give a Dog a Job” campaign.
“(These dogs) enhance the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities by providing them highly trained assistance dogs by helping them with practical everyday tasks as well as providing unconditional love,” said Danielle Scerbovsky, Development Director, Donor & Corporate Engagement for Canine Companions for Independence.
Scerbovsky, who shared the information about the organization’s history, mission and reach with FCA employees, also took time to recognize the contributions of Hocking and other volunteers.
“We couldn’t do it without these volunteers,” she said. “They cover food. They cover vet checks, obedience classes and more. That is a substantial savings for our organization.”
To learn more about the partnership between Chrysler and Canine Companions for Independence, and to donate, visit www.driveindependence.org.