On March 20, 2015, representatives of The Rees-Jones Foundation attended the Canine Companions for Independence spring graduation ceremony in Irving, Texas, where service dogs were matched with their new owners. CCI trains assistance dogs to help persons with disabilities or those who need special care. Three types of dogs are trained: Service Dogs for persons with physical disabilities, Skilled Companions to promote independence for children and adults with developmental disabilities, and Facility Dogs to offer therapy to patients in a health care setting. It is evident that dogs have strong healing power and therapeutic companionship for people with a variety of needs through their compassionate and loving nature. Although the graduation was emotional for the “puppy raisers” who cared for the companion dogs the year prior to being matched with their new owners, it was touching to see the adults and kids whose lives were about to be changed by the love and loyalty of a dog.
In 2014, CCI formed a partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health to build a training site in North Texas, which, when completed, will be the first of its kind between a canine training organization and a health care organization. The Foundation was pleased to provide some of the capital needed for the new facility. The future Jan Rees-Jones Canine Center, which will be part of the new training center, will include a veterinary clinic and radiology lab for dogs in training on the new Irving, Texas campus, which will be the sixth location for CCI. CCI is the largest non-profit provider of service dogs in the United States, and the new campus will be able to train up to 60 more assistance dogs for adults and children in need.
The Rees-Jones Foundation congratulates CCI and Baylor Scott & White Health on their new partnership that will address two of the Foundation’s priority areas of interest, demonstrating how companion animals can make life so much better for children and adults with special needs.