Hello, I’d like to introduce you to Kinnick and Teama…Boulder City’s newest canine residents! Now, you’re probably wondering if there is something special about Kinnick & Teama that they are featured here on Boulder City Social, right?
Well, yes, they are extremely special because they are puppies with a purpose, which is to become “exceptional dogs for exceptional people“.
Kinnick and Teama are both assistance dogs in training for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) – the non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs.
Teama is a 4-month old purebred Yellow Labrador being raised and trained by Boulder City residents Paula & Keith Hoffman and Kinnick is a 3-month old half Black Labrador and half Golden Retriever being raised and trained by Lynn Rawcliffe and Kelly Haugh, who is the President of CCI’s Las Vegas Chapter and raising her seventh assistance puppy!
Both Teama and Kinnick will live here in Boulder City for the next 18 months or so, after which they’ll head off to advanced training at CCI for another 6 months, where they’ll learn the skills needed to become one of the five types of assistance dogs provided by CCI:
- Service Dogs – assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks, including retrieving dropped or out of reach items, opening and closing doors and drawers, pulling a lightweight manual wheelchair, turning lights on and off, etc.
- Hearing Dogs – alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds, including alerting to environmental sounds and showing partners the source of sounds.
- Skilled Companions – enhance independence for adults or children with cognitive disabilities who are under the guidance of a caregiver who handles and cares for the assistance dog. Disabilities include, but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Down syndrome.
- Facility Dogs – work with a professional in a visitation, education or healthcare setting by assisting with physical therapy, cognitive exercises, speech therapy, motivation and comfort.
- Assistance Dogs for Veterans – providing assistance, constant companionship and unconditional love to veterans with disabilities resulting from military service.
But while they are here with us in Boulder City for the next year and a half, they’ll be learning basic obedience, socialization and just growing into healthy and happy young dogs ready to make a big difference in someone’s life…so keep an eye out for them around town. You won’t be able to miss them because they’ll be in their yellow “work vests” and in places you don’t normally see dogs (thanks to NRS 651.075).
If you’d like to meet them, just be sure to ask their trainers if you can be introduced so they can use the meet and greet with you to run the puppies through their paces. They need to learn how to interact with people while they are “on the job” – which involves verbally releasing them from “work mode” so they can give you sloppy puppy kisses!
And for those of you who (like me) think this is the coolest thing EVER – you’ll be glad to know that Kelly has agreed to let me chronicle Kinnick’s life as a “puppy with a purpose” over the next 18 months for everyone…so next month, we’ll not only cover more information about the program, but let you know what’s new in The Kinnick Chronicles!
In the meantime, you can learn more about Canine Companions for Independence on their website located here. Their main Facebook page is located here and the Facebook page for the CCI Las Vegas Chapter is located here, if you’d like to become a Fan!