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Category Archives: Canine Companions for Independence

5 last minute dog-related gift ideas without leaving your house


Don’t look now. The sun’s going down.

If you’re like me, your motto during the holiday season is “it’s not last minute until it’s Christmas Eve.”  So consider this a bit of planning ahead.

Because we’re both awesome like that.

We’ve got us a whole two sleeps before the big day. And if we have this planning gene in common, you and I, then perhaps we also share the desire to not leave the house again after surviving the holiday frenzies. Maybe never. But likely just until we run out of milk or something.

But how’s your shopping going? Do you still have someone on your list that’s still hanging out there?

You know the one.

What do you want for Christmas? you ask.

Oh, nothing, they say as they casually wave the thought away with a hand. Just your presence is enough. I have everything I need.

Does this drive you mad, too? Sure, they probably mean it. But darn it all, it just makes an awkward moment when the gift wrap is flying about the living room on Christmas morn.

And because, well, you want to gift them something since you care about them and stuff.

Does your difficult-to-gift person happen to be a fellow Lover of All Things Dog? Yeah? I have some gift ideas for you, then.

And you don’t even have to leave the house.

Read the rest of this entry

Reindeer games

[previously posted in Raising a Super Dog]

Hey, Food Lady, says Holly. Santa called. He wants me to come over to play reindeer games with Rudolph.

I can go, right? The Cat told me Rudolph has a big red glow ball that I can play Keep Away with. He says Rudolph loves this game.

I need to get back in good with Santa. I think this is just the thing that’ll do it, too. 

She wears it well

You’re not wearing it wrong if you’re going to be so stinkin’ adorable about it.

Fawn, a Canine Companions for Independence puppy

Beauty and brains and … love

Beauty and brains and … love

How old is your puppy? asked the Bob Evans server. She stoops down to look under the table at our pup in training.

Puppy Euka is alert amid the activity of this noisy – and aromatic –  environment, but she’s content to hold her Down like the good girl she is. Beauty and brains, this one.

She’s almost seven months, I said.

Wow, you’re lucky, said the server. You got a good one then. My boyfriend’s little brother has a service dog. It’s three years old and can’t stay still. He’d never be able to get it to lie under a restaurant table like that.



Huh, is that so? I say. Where did he get his service dog from? 

Oh, well, says our server. And she names a local assistance dog organization that’s not CCI, but another one we know about.

Gotcha, I say. You know, if the dog needs more training, I’m sure the organization will provide it.

I actually don’t know this is true. I hope it is.

My boyfriend’s little brother has autism, so the dog’s for that, she said. They don’t need the dog so much when they go out. 

The Husband lowers his menu to catch my eye. I know that look. It says, go easy on the chick. The only thing between me and my lunch right now is your impending lecture.

Read the rest of this entry

Wordless Wednesday: Some dogs want to see their name in lights

Some dogs, with aspirations of celebrity-dom, want to see their name in lights. Other dogs have a different value system.

From Canine Companions for Independence’s Facebook page …

It’s National Dog Day and to celebrate, we are launching the#kibblenamegame! Harpo is calling out some of her siblings from theEukanuba #HeroLitter Hala, Hoagy, Holly and Hudson. Post videos/photos of your dogs and call out their four-legged friends.TAG #ccicanine #NDD

What’s this now, Harpo? A challenge, you say?

Game On, sister, says Holly.

I accept your challenge, she says. And will add my weekly birthday shot to it. 

And…, Holly continues. I will stamp my own style to the event by attempting the splits, puppy style, while Food Lady is fussing around with her stoopid camera. I’m betting this morning’s breakfast that she doesn’t even notice.

Later, as Holly is crunching her breakfast, I recall the Kibble Name Game we did with Euka before she returned to CCI for her Advanced Training. Gotcha a link below for that photo and more.

But here’s even another version of just how good these CCI puppies are.

Here’s our Miss Euka at her Matriculation Party we had at P&G Pet Care back in May.  Euka poses with a section of her face cake.

Not a drop of icing on her nose. Good Leave It, you awesome dog.

Yowza, says Euka. I even
look good in frosting.


For an earlier collection of Kibble Name Challenges, be sure to click to our link to a slideshow of The Kibble Name Game here at Raising a Super Dog.

Recognizing Assistance Dog Week

You came back! cries Holly. She does a four-paw slide across the kitchen flooring to greet me at the back door.

Oof! Holly Don’t! I say, using her middle name. I just went to pick some dill from the herb garden. I was only out there for for a couple of minutes. 

Would you make Bodine let go of my
leash, please?

The cat said you’ve been gone for days and I just wasn’t paying attention, said Holly.  But I was! I was paying attention. I think he picks on me sometimes.

Ya think? I say. Anyhow, little one, let’s see if we can get a calm greeting from you. This sliding across the floor and slamming into my legs is not becoming of a puppy as smart as you. We have to get you ready for Service Dog College and Good Behavior will be on the test.

But I am Puppy! says Holly. Hear me Rawr!

Indeed you are, Holly Reddy, I say. Still, a puppy needs to learn self-control. Especially one who is being raised to be an assistance dog.

I have important work to do someday, says Holly. I remember. You told me that.

Yep, and you know what else? I say. This week of August 3 is International Assistance Dog Week.

I have a whole week? Really? says Holly. Wait a minute. I thought every day was a Holly Day Holiday. 

I know you think that, I say. But I suppose even puppies being raised for an assistance dog career would be celebrated this week as well. It would fall into the spirit of things. It’s all about raising awareness and a trained assistance dog doesn’t just get born ready to roll. There’s the Breeder/Caretakers, the Puppy Raisers, and a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes volunteers working at it before the puppy even makes it to Advanced Training. 

At least that’s how it works for Canine Companions for Independence, anyway, I say.

So it takes a pillage or something? asks Holly.

What? No, you mean it takes a village, right?, I say. I guess so. Our CCI village is country wide, though. You little critters start off in California, then go off to one of the five Regional Centers to be placed with a Volunteer Puppy Raiser. At last count, there’s nearly fourteen hundred puppy raisers with CCI. That’s a pretty big village. Maybe a better word is Community. 

The Working Dog Community

In recognition of International Assistance Dog Week we’d like to offer up a closer look at what an Assistance Dog can do for folk.

And who better to tell you than a handler? Only a person using an assistance dog can relate the joys as well as the challenges.

DYK? Canine Companions for Independence provides assistance dogs to individual with a disability free of charge. CCI trains four types of assistance dogs:

  • Service Dogs
  • Skilled Companions
  • Hearing Dogs
  • Facility Dogs

What CCI does not provide are Guide Dogs and Medical Alert Dogs. The type of dogs and training for these programs are actually very different.  Several other organizations, such as The Seeing Eye, focus in these areas.

So here we’ll share links to the awesome teams of CCI, as well as a look into of the world of some other working teams.

Some websites to watch:

Sidekicks Project

Where’s the Sound (Marc & Mildred, a CCI Hearing Dog Team)

Help on Four Legs (Alex & Bright, a CCI team)

Safe & Sound (Beth Fink’s blog about life with a guide dog.)

Black Dogs Rule (medical alert dog)

Quadomated (Mike & Caleb, CCI team)

Goodwill/Easter Seals (with Kevin & Harley, CCI Team)

Jeb’s Dog Blog (a long-time CCI puppy raiser)

What do you think? 

Inga & Joseph, a CCI Skilled Companion Team

Do you know an assistance dog team active in social media that should be added here?

Drop a comment with a link, won’t you?

The Kota

Posted on
Hoagy, Harvest and Holly

Didja hear wab Foob Lady seb? asks Holly.

What? asks Harvest. Hey! Ow!

Holly lets go of her sister’s hind leg and clears a dog hair from her throat. [ahem] I said, she says, did you hear what Food Lady said? Hoagy’s gonna come at lunchtime to play.

With her leg now free, Harvest tosses Holly on her back. She jumps on top and starts to gnaw on Holly’s front leg.  That’s cool. says Harvest. We could use some fresh meat. You know, so to speak.

And something else, says Holly. Food Lady says we get to see the Kota too. Yikes! You’re biting too hard, Harvest! 

Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing, says Harvest. Nom-nom-nom ha ha ha ha! Seriously though, what’s a Kota?

I dunno, shrugs Holly. But Food Lady told me we have to treat the Kota with ‘spect. I have no idea what that even means. My turn! Give me your leg.

Respect means [ow] we can’t chew on it, says Harvest. Maybe the Kota is a strappy sandal. Criminy, Holly! Stop using your back teeth!

No, the Kota isn’t a shoe, you toe-eater, says Holly. Food Lady says the Kota is a special kinda dog. She said it’s very powerful and uses mind powers to control other animals. Ow, that’s my ear! I think you hit bone that time.

Oh sure, like it has ESPN or something, says Harvest. That makes no sense, Holly. Roll over and I’ll get your other ear bone to match the red marks.

No really, says Holly. The Kota is supposed to be fast and strong. Like with super speed and it can catch flying things in mid-air!

That’s nothin’, says Harvest. Watch me do that!

Ow, my tail! cried Holly. Oh hey, and and get this … the Kota [dang it! ow!] is black and white. Not yellow like me, you and Hoagy.

Now I know [ow!], says Harvest. You’re pulling my leg.

The dog, the myth, the legend

Well met.
Some better met than others.

Holy cow, what a good dog, Lakota.

While Holly and Hoagy ask for the doggy version of an autograph of the legendary Lakota, Harvest invests some time in researching the family history of the border collie.

Lakota in the meantime, permits this attention from his new fandom. No prob, says Lakota. So long as they leave my flying squirrel thingies alone.


Oh sure, you can catch this thing in mid-air.
But can you catch me? bwahahaha

Yeah, so anyway after the initial howdy-dos, the three Hero pups went back to merely assaulting each other puppy-style.

No, no I’d say you got two more kibbles for lunch than I did, says Hoagy.
Did somebody say Lunch? says Holly. 

The Kota was left in peace to do his legendary feats of catching flying objects from mid-air. Which is all he really wanted out of the deal anyway.

A good thing he brought two flying squirrel thingies.

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