In several previous posts, I’ve mentioned Reba, our service dog in training. Cathey and her friend Amy were Reba’s puppy co-raisers. They were given joint custody of Reba by Canine Companions for Independence.
CCI dogs are bred in Santa Rosa, California and at 8 weeks are shipped to volunteer puppy raisers all over the US. Reba arrived in Birmingham in November, 2018 with her litter mate Rudy, who also was raised in Alabama.
CCI has rigorous expectations for puppy raisers. The pups learn at least 30 commands and learn various social skills. In August, 2020, we delivered Reba to a CCI campus in Irving, Texas, for her to begin formal training. CCI dogs are placed at no charge to the recipient.
COVID-19 created some delays and changes in the “dog college” phase of the pups’ training. On April 28, Reba graduated with two other dogs, Junie and Savannah. All three CCI dogs have been placed as “facility dogs” with the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, TX.
Reba will be working in an oncology/hematology unit to comfort, encourage and motivate inpatient children. Her two classmates will be working with patients in an intensive care unit and with an outpatient oncology unit. These are the first CCI dogs placed at the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin.