Apparently, I’m such a good puppy poser that I keep getting cast for photo ops. My agency booked me for a photo shoot for an upcoming golf tournament fundraiser, and I simply couldn’t refuse the opportunity to get my mug on a tee-box sign!
When I arrived at the golf course, I realized that I wasn’t the only dog there. Tails were wagging all around, and I had never seen so many fellow retrievers in vests, sitting so patiently next to their owners. I got closer, and found that on their vests was a patch that read “Canine Companions for Independence.” I was about to back away from what I thought was a mutt mob on the loose, when I remembered that only trained and service animals are allowed to wear a vest — these guys were okay!
After some sniffing and snooping, I learned that Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a non-profit organization that trains dogs from puppyhood to assist people with disabilities. Like me, these dogs come from special breeders and are born to help others. When they are puppies, foster parents volunteer to take care of them until they start their training at the age of 15 to 18 months. They train for six months to be a Service Dog, Skilled Companion, Hearing Dog or Facility Dog, and if they pass all their tests, they finally get to graduate (yes, even dogs get graduation ceremonies) and are given to children and adults who need their help. The greatest thing about CCI is that people with disabilities get their new best friend free of charge — not that I know anything about money, I am a dog after all.
It was so exciting hearing about how amazing CCI is for people and dogs, that I almost missed my mark during my photo shoot! Pat the photographer was able to get a few shots of me though, and I made sure I hammed it up for the camera. To be honest, I was a bit distracted and confused by the golf balls — why would anyone want to lose one down a hole?
Anyway, the best thing about the photo shoot was not that I got my photo taken, but that I got to meet so many “angels with tails.” It turns out we have something in common: we have dedicated our lives to caring for people. CCI dogs are changing human’s lives for the better on a daily basis, and I can only hope to do that as a therapy dog for Cypress. I am so glad that I got to hang out with these super cool canines, and I can’t wait to see them again in September for the tournament!
To learn more about CCI and how you can help, visit www.cci.org.
To see more photos of Lacey at the golf course, visit Cypress on Facebook.