On December 5th, CCI, Canine Companions for Independence, held one of their monthly puppy school class at Middleburg Montessori School.  Adolescent Directress, Cassella Slater, is the puppy raiser for Turner IV.  Turner is the second yellow Labrador retriever CCI dog to join the students at Middleburg Montessori School in the last three years and the third CCI dog raised by Cassella. Over the years, the Slaters have raised 6 puppies for CCI.

Begun in 1975 by Bonnie Bergin of Santa Rosa, CA after visiting Asia and seeing burros used as helpers for disabled adults and children.  Since then, CCI has sponsored and trained over 5,000 dogs.  The program has volunteer breeders who then send puppies to homes of volunteers foster parents who care for the dog until they are 13-18 months old.  Volunteer breeders and foster parents are carefully interviewed and trained for this work.

Each month, puppies within a region come together so that puppies can receive the foundation training for their future role in assisting.  After their 18-month stint with their foster family, the puppies go through 6-9 months of rigorous training before being matched to their companion.  CCI dogs are special and able to help adults or children with a range of physical and emotional needs at no cost.

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