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CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE(R) LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO HELP VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES

SANTA ROSA, Calif., Nov. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Imagine you led your platoon to combat but you're unable to pick up your dropped keys, or you were in charge of military intelligence but can no longer open a door or turn on a light. Now put a Canine Companions assistance dog in the picture and everything changes. Since its inception in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence has seen the gift of independence given to adults, children and veterans with disabilities more than 5,200 times over in the form of a highly-trained assistance dog.

3.8 million veterans in the US have a service-related disability. Charlie Linville (USMC ret.) is one of them. While working as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician in the Marine Corps, Linville stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device. He lost his leg and some fingers, as well as suffered a brain injury. Linville was matched with Service Dog Devon, a Canine Companions assistance dog with an important job—to enhance independence in day-to-day tasks for Linville. Devon retrieves Linville's prosthetic, opens doors and turns off lights.

"Devon is skilled at bringing my prosthesis when I'm sitting on the couch," explains Linville. "He can go to my wife to retrieve something and bring it to me. Just having someone with me to help do things that are difficult for me really affects my life positively." Devon's work allows his handler to focus on other challenges. Linville believes in an "I'm possible" mantra—nothing is impossible. This year, Linville climbed Mount Everest as the first veteran amputee in history.

Founded in Santa Rosa, California, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit that provides assistance dogs for people with a broad range of disabilities at no cost to the recipient. These dogs are trained in over 40 commands including turning light switches on and off, opening doors, pulling wheelchairs and picking up items that are dropped. By doing these tasks for a person with a disability, their independence and quality of life can improve greatly.

"In honor of Veterans Day, Canine Companions is launching the Give Veterans Independence—and Give a Dog a Job campaign," says Canine Companions CEO Paul Mundell. "For over 42 years, we have relied on the tremendous generosity of our donors to help Canine Companions give the gift of independence entirely free of charge. The goal of the Give a Dog a Jobcampaign is transformational—to provide highly-skilled assistance dogs that literally open doors for a person with a disability."

For more information on how to get involved or make a donation visit cci.org/giveadogajob.

About Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence provides highly-trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has training centers across the country, including California, Florida, Ohio, New York and Texas. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and ongoing follow-up services. For more information, visit www.cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.





Photos accompanying this release are available at:

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CONTACT: Jeanine Konopelski, Canine Companions for Independence 707-577-1759 jkonopelski@cci.org

Source: Canine Companions for Independence