From Puppy to Partner
Service dogs in training
Story by Jennifer Longdon
Photos by Loren Worthington and Summer Sorg
At 11 weeks old, Kai, a golden retriever puppy, ricochets from spot to spot enthralled with another new environment to explore. The animated bundle of caramel fluff is still too small to fill out his bright yellow service vest.
Bryant, a mature 21-month-old, settles under a bench quietly watching. His toffee-colored fringe ruffles in the slight breeze. Kai is beginning his first adventure; Bryant is heading off to his next one.
These pups have been specially bred as part of Canine Companions for Independence. Jennifer Heller, president of the Valley of the Sun Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence reports that 28 CCI pups are being raised in the Valley. The dogs get together twice a month at the Ability360 Center for socialization and group training.