Canine Companions for Independence is a nonprofit that provides highly-trained assistance dogs free of charge to people with disabilities. At their national headquarters in Santa Rosa, California, the work starts before puppies are even born. They work hard to meticulously select and pair dogs for breeding. Litters are then raised in homes with volunteers. At the same time, a request for an application is submitted online. As the applicant’s paperwork is being filled out and sent, the quickly-growing eight-week-old pups are placed with volunteer puppy raisers where they will be cared for and learn basic socialization and obedience skills. Before applicants are accepted to receive a dog, they go through a multi-step interview process, including a phone interview, medical paperwork, and an in-person interview. Accepted applicants are put on a wait list until they are invited to a team training class to be matched with an assistance dog. When the dogs are fully grown, they leave their puppy raisers and return to Canine Companions to work with skilled professional trainers to learn advanced commands and tasks. Then comes the day when the person and dog meet for the first time. Here at Team Training, the newly matched team learned to work together and training continues until they graduate as new partners. Canine Companions will continue to follow up with the pair for the lifetime of the placement, serving as a support system for the team. Canine Companions for Independence has been providing assistance dogs to people with disabilities free of charge since 1975.