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Puppy Love - Canine Companions for Independence


Puppy Love - Canine Companions for Independence

Canine Companions for Independence, a national non-profit organization founded and headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, breeds, raises and trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities. This incredible organization’s work would not be possible without the support of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters around the country. 

The Malilay family’s love for Canine Companions’ mission began with a bookmark their two-year-old daughter received in 2001.  Three years later, they became volunteer breeder caretakers.  Over the years, the Malilays have helped birth and care for nearly 20 litters of puppies in their home!  They also recently raised their first puppy for Canine Companions’ volunteer puppy raising program.

 Creating each Canine Companions assistance dog begins with our incredibly dedicated volunteers.  Breeder caretakers have the critically important job of caring for a Canine Companions breeder dog and helping her birth litters of future assistance dogs.  Breeder caretakers care for these puppies for the first eight weeks of life in their homes before turning them over to volunteer puppy raisers.  Puppy raisers socialize, train, and love the puppies for the next 18 to 20 months.  Then, they return these much-loved dogs to Canine Companions for six to nine months of professional training and eventual placement with a person with a disability.

 Leighann Malilay says, “Seeing puppies born in our house graduate to become service dogs and make a difference in people’s lives is very rewarding. We have been fortunate to see the cycle come full circle”.  The Malilays have had three generations of Canine Companions puppies born in their home.  When asked to give advice to any future volunteers, Leighann says, “DO IT!  We can’t imagine our lives without being involved with the organization in some way, shape, or form.  We know that new adventures with Canine Companions await just around the corner”.

 Are you ready to begin your adventure?  Come to campus for a tour, or visit to get involved.