It’s Build a Bear on air and we’re on the phone with Kimberly, a spokesperson for Canine Companions for Independence. Now Build a Bear has a special contest. Go online right now to buildabear.com and you can vote to name the new puppy that’s about to be born that will go into this Canine Companions for Independence Program.
Have you noticed that a specific breed does better with commands or is a bit smarter versus other breeds?
Here at Canine Companions we breed and use Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. Actually a lot of our dogs are a cross between those two breeds. What we have found is that this produces dogs with really nice temperaments. They’re very happy to just kind of work for their person and be around the person and they really thrive on that connection with their graduate. It works out really nicely for us to use those breeds.
Tell us about how the partnership with Build a Bear came to be.
We’ve been so lucky to have the support of Build a Bear throughout our history with them. They’ve donated money and they continue to support us by raising awareness of our mission, which is really really important. We’re really excited about this new partnership and the new puppy that’s yet to be born. I’m not quite sure how long we’ve had the Build a Bear partnership but it’s been really great for us . We really appreciate all their support.
I’d like to ask any person who’s extremely interested to become a volunteer or even work as a trainer. How did that process start for them?
On our website, canine.org, you can read about volunteer opportunities. We also a section on the website that lists job opportunities. For those who are interested in becoming a trainer, whether they want to volunteer puppy raising or if they want to think more about joining our staff, they can also find out information on canine.org.
Last but not least how did you become involved with this organization and what made you decide that this is where you wanted to be?
I went to the University of Delaware. A couple of weeks into my first semester, I attended a group activities fair. I stumbled upon a table for a group that was raising seeing eye puppies to become guide dogs. So, of course, being an animal lover, I was immediately hooked. I signed up right away. It was about a year and a half later that I actually raised my first puppy. Unfortunately he didn’t quite make the cut and now he’s my pet dog.
Yeah, he is a sweet sweet boy. It was really my first introduction into the world of working dogs in general and I just absolutely fell in love with it. I started to get to know Canine Companions a little bit. I had a roommate in college who raised puppies along with her family so that was my introduction. Once I really saw how it worked and I visited one of the campuses I was just hooked and I knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I started off with training the dogs, then worked my way up through our partnership program for our trainers. Then I moved to more of the people side of things in our Participant Program Department. Here I am today, the Northwest Freedom Program Director and I really couldn’t be any happier.
That’s awesome. Isn’t it great to do something that you love and that you’re passionate about?
Absolutely! I really look toward coming to work every day. You know not everyone can say that. I really do feel very blessed to be in this position.
That’s what it’s all about. Thank you, Kimberly.
Quick: where can people find Canine Companions for Independence on social media?
We do have a Facebook page. It’s Canine Companions for Independence. We are also on Instagram and Twitter under CCIcanine.
Thank you so much for being on the show. Remember you can go online right now. You only have a few more days to vote to name this future service dog. I know I’m going to go online and vote right now I am so excited to help name this pup.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer or even a trainer, make sure to check out their website canine.org
Thank you so much for having me.
You’re welcome. Have a beautiful day.