Toys & Training

Canine Companions’ new Santa Rosa heart goals to fill nationwide want for service canine


There aren’t sufficient service canine for the 60 million folks within the U.S. dwelling with a incapacity, based on Canine Companions for Independence CEO Paige Mazzoni.

With the groundbreaking of a brand new canine well being and wellness heart, Canine Companions, a nationwide nonprofit group primarily based in Santa Rosa that breeds and trains service canine, is working to shut that hole.

“It’s all about extra puppies,” mentioned Mazzoni, who hosted the groundbreaking Friday on the group’s Dutton Avenue campus. “We’re groundbreaking our future.”

The brand new 32,000-square-foot heart, anticipated to be completed by August 2023, will home a analysis facility, a bigger early growth breeding area and a veterinary hospital. All of which make it potential to breed extra canine able to serving to these in want.

Canine Companions may also personal its new property.

“Now we could have our personal buildings on our campus,” mentioned Michelle Williams, a Canine Companions spokesperson.

At present, 400 disabled adults, youngsters and veterans within the U.S. are ready for a service canine, skilled to assist them with their every day lives.

“Canine Companion puppies are particular as a result of you recognize they’ve the potential” to vary the lives of disabled folks, mentioned Brenda Kennedy, vice chairman of canine well being and analysis on the nonprofit.

As soon as the brand new heart is constructed, officers imagine, the group will improve the variety of service canine it breeds — from 820 in 2021 to 1,500 by 2025. Canine Companions additionally plans to greater than double its workers of volunteers, from 90 to 200.

Canine Companions is the most important supplier of service canine on the planet. It’s additionally the chief in analysis for complete breeding of service canine, based on Kennedy.

It additionally collaborates with veterinary hospitals and schools throughout the nation, together with Duke and Purdue universities. It additionally has satellite tv for pc coaching places of work in numerous areas of the U.S.

“We wish to help the longevity of our canine and the traits that make them extra profitable,” Kennedy mentioned.

The present Santa Rosa facility is at capability, Kennedy mentioned. As soon as skilled, the native puppies are despatched wherever within the U.S. to be matched with folks with disabilities.

Canine Companions’ new heart will value $19 million.

A brand new veterinary surgical procedure suite will improve the quantity of operations that may be accomplished at one time. And supply hospital-level bio safety for its pregnant feminine canine and their new child pups, together with a particular space the place litters can be monitored.

Former board president Jean Schulz, based on the group’s web site, turned concerned with Canine Companions in 1986. She and her late husband, famend Santa Rosa cartoonist Charles Schulz, thought the canine had been “marvelous.”

“I didn’t know if I’d be alive when this occurred,” Schulz mentioned to the gathering at Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “We realized a very long time in the past that breeding was necessary. This new whelping and well being heart will assist with all that.”

The ceremony Friday was additionally meant to thank the group’s volunteers, donors and workers, together with Dr. Phil Lin, nationwide veterinary director, who developed plans for the brand new heart.

The group selected to call the early growth breeding heart after longtime donor Nancy Nelson, of Nebraska, who died in July 2020.

In accordance with Mazzoni, when instructed of the honour, Nelson mentioned, “I discover it splendidly ironic that you just wish to put my identify on a breeding heart.” Nelson was single and by no means had youngsters.

Members of her household traveled from Nebraska to attend Friday’s ceremony.

“This new well being and wellness heart is a sport changer for many who want it most,” mentioned state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, who helped Canine Companions via the state’s bureaucratic approval course of.

You’ll be able to attain Employees Author Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5209.



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