“Canine Companions for Independence” push for on-campus puppy-raisers


“Canine Companions for Independence,” (CCI) is setting its yearly goals high.

In this club, students volunteer to raise puppies who will later become service dogs, except on-campus residents can’t keep the dogs in their dorms overnight.

This year, the club hopes to get housing’s approval to allow on-campus residents to keep the dogs.

CCI Vice President Ashley Correa said this is because on-campus students have expressed interest in having dogs 24-hours a day.

At the club’s meeting on Tuesday, e-board members discussed these plans, as well as ideas for fundraising and ways to recruit volunteers. The meeting was attended by more than 60 students and two dogs.

In CCI, students raise puppies from eight weeks to a year and a half, teaching them basic commands along the way. The dogs must be prepared for advanced service dog training, which happens after the students give back their dogs.

Augie, a one-year-old black Labrador retriever, will start service dog training in May. - Staff Photo/Emely Perez
Augie, a one-year-old black Labrador retriever, will start service dog training in May. -Staff Photo/Emely Perez

CCI club senator Jimmy Witkoski has been raising Augie, a black Labrador retriever, since last December. In May, Witkoski will have to return Augie, who is currently almost a year old.

“It’s like right around the time that I graduate, so I’m going to be really happy and then I’m just gonna crash,” Witkoski said of the idea of giving up Augie.

Biochemistry major Taylor Pankiewicz got involved with CCI because she loves the organization.

“I love dogs, so I thought what better way to get involved than to do what I love and do something good for someone else?” Pankiewicz said.

She has been raising Silvester, a four-month old yellow Labrador retriever, since July.

“It is easy but also hard, because it’s almost like having a fuzzy baby,” she said.

CCI meetings are held Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. in room 226 of the Campbell Library.

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