Who We Are
Canine Companions is leading the service dog industry so our clients and their dogs can live with greater independence. We provide service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities and facility dogs to professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice and educational settings. Since our founding in 1975, our dogs and all follow-up services are provided at no cost to our clients.
Independence shouldn’t be limited to those who look or live a certain way. Disability reaches all races, classes and backgrounds, and Canine Companions will too. Clients come to Canine Companions because of our reputation, the quality of our dogs, the experience of our training staff and the desire to lead life with greater independence. We are committed to providing services to all qualified clients.
Our Core Values
Teamwork – We believe in the joyful, transformative power of the human-canine partnership.
Compassionate Service – We act with respect, empathy and collaboration in service of our community, our constituents and each other.
Integrity – We do what is right guided by honesty, accountability and sincerity.
Community – We practice inclusion and acceptance to build impactful relationships within our diverse community.
Excellence – We conduct ourselves with professionalism in pursuit of the highest standards.
Innovation – We reinvent possibility to unleash our greatest potential.
2025 – that’s the year Canine Companions will reach our ambitious and aspirational goal to become the most recognized leader of our industry, able to provide service dogs – expertly trained, highest quality, free of charge – to all qualified applicants. As the leaders of the service dog industry, we continue to have a waitlist of those needing our services. We aspire to end or reduce our waitlist and in the process set a new standard of best practices for the industry.
To reach this goal, we will: evaluate and strengthen our brand, review and optimize our program methods, create deeper volunteer engagement, ensure an active and diverse team and community, activate fundraising initiatives, and identify key strategic partners to support constant innovation. Click here to find out more about our strategic plan and the key steps that have been taken.
Who We Serve
- Adults with physical or auditory disabilities.
- Children with physical or cognitive disabilities aged five or older or adults with physical or cognitive disabilities who require the assistance of a facilitator such as a parent, caregiver or spouse.
- Veterans with a physical or auditory disability or post-traumatic stress disorder* (PTSD).
- Professionals working in a health care, visitation, criminal justice or education setting.
Canine Companions is committed to serving all consumers with disabilities. We are strongly committed to ensuring that any individual who can benefit logistically or by improved quality of life from our services is reached as part of our mission. We are focused at managing the intersectionality of all communities we do and can serve with our mission – leaving no one out who can benefit from our services or membership in our community.
*Service dogs for veterans with PTSD are provided in specific geographic regions.
See our Growth
- 7,454 graduate teams placed since our founding in 1975
- 413 working dog teams placed in 2022
- 2,706 active graduate teams nationwide
- 4,700 active volunteers nationwide
- 1,292 volunteer puppy raisers
- 138 volunteer breeder caretakers
- First member of Assistance Dogs International to earn full accreditation
- Several hundred Canine Companions release dogs currently functioning in such human services roles as bomb searching, border patrol, customs, and therapy and guide dogs.
Volunteer Puppy Raiser FAQs
Canine Companions has been providing service dogs to people with disabilities since 1975. You can help us unite people with trained service dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence. Every service dog starts as a puppy that needs a loving home. You can raise a dog and change a life. Volunteer puppy raising is an incredible way to help children and adults with disabilities live more independent lives.
Volunteer puppy raisers provide Canine Companions puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, serve up a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love.
Canine Companions Through The Years
2020 North Central Region New Albany Ohio, Training Center opens
2016 5,000th graduate team placement
2015 South Central Region Baylor Scott & White Health Kinkeade Training Center opens
2015 Canine Companions celebrates 40th anniversary
2014 First class graduates in South Central Region and construction begins on South Central Region's new Baylor Scott & White Heath Kinkeade Campus
2014 Canine Companions places first services dogs for veterans with PTSD
2013 Canine Companions marched in Presidential Inaugural Parade
2013 National signature event, DogFest, launched
2012 Sesame Street launches new service dog Muppet, based on Canine Companions dog
2012 4,000th graduate team placed
2008 3,000th graduate team placement
2008 Grand opening Northeast Region Miller Family Campus Training Center
2007 Wounded Veterans Initiative launched
2004 First criminal justice dog, 'Ellie' placed. First dog to be placed in a court setting
2003 2,000th graduate team placement
2001 Southwest Region Training Center rededicated as Dean, Gerda and Trixie Koontz Campus
2000 Grand opening Anheuser Busch/SeaWorld Campus Southeast Region Training Center
1995 1,000th graduate team placement
1995 First prison puppy raising program started at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon
1993 Canine Companions Heritage Society formed
1992 Formal graduate follow-up program started
1988 Southeast Region established
1988 The Labrador/Golden retriever cross is purpose bred as the primary service dog breed of Canine Companions
1987 Assistance Dogs International (ADI) established, Canine Companions is a founding member
1987 North Central and Southwest Regions established
1985 Canine Companions formal breeding program begins
1981 Canine Companions moved into first training facility in Santa Rosa, CA
1976 First service dog placed, Abdul
1975 Canine Companions for Independence founded in Santa Rosa, CA