‘Canine Companions' Is Chance To Help Those With Disabilities


(Thursday, December 14, 2006 11:57 AM EST)

Colleen Hayduk, a nine-year resident of Middleburg, loves puppies, and she has found a way to use her love to help others.

Hayduk is a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs.

Four types of assistance dogs are trained through CCI: service dogs, skilled companion dogs, facility dogs and hearing dogs.

Currently, Hayduk is raising two puppies, Katie IV and Freda IV. As a volunteer puppy raiser, Hayduk is responsible for the care, upbringing and expense of her puppies until they enter advanced training at CCI Regional Headquarters in Long Island, N.Y., when they are 16 to 18 months old.

As part of the program, raisers must attend two CCI-approved obedience classes per month to get tips on how to teach puppies 30 core commands.

The approximate cost of raising a puppy is between $2,000 and $3000. Hayduk is being sponsored by Dr. Janet McKim at the Middleburg Animal Hospital and by Journeyman Saddlery.

“Middleburg is a great place to raise pups,” Hayduk wrote in a recent letter to Middleburg Life. “I am sure there could be many more volunteers like myself whose lives would be greatly enhanced by this program.”

To learn more about Canine Companions for Independence, call (800) 572-BARK or see the Web site at www.caninecompanions.org.

Colleen Hayduk is raising Freda IV and Katie IV for Canine Companions for Independence, which enhances the lives of those with disabilities.

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