Canine companions for disabled U.S. military veterans and others in need!

By | February 29, 2012

At Hallmark Abstract Service, part of our business is giving back to the community!

Whether a company is just starting out or is about to celebrate a 25th anniversary in business, supporting the community that supports you is critical!

With that in mind I would like to present a local charity by the name Canine Companions for Independence in Medford, New York!

Canine Companions for Independence!

I had the honor and the privilege of becoming involved with CCI which breeds, trains and then provides dogs for wounded veterans and others who need assistance with the everyday tasks that most of us take for granted.

CCI was founded in California in 1975 and since that time has placed over 3,500 dogs around the country with those who need their special services and skills. The dogs are trained to work in one of four areas; Service, Hearing, Skilled Companion and Facility; and are hand selected based on the needs of an individual and the temperament of the animal.

At first each dog spends an extended period of time at the homes of volunteer puppy raisers that teach him or her certain basic skills. The dogs then go to a CCI facility where they are trained in the specific skills they need as service dogs.

I believe that only 45% of dogs that begin the training process actually make it through and into service, indicating just how special the ones who graduate actually are.

One recent recipient of a CCI service dog is Richard Sweeney. Richard is a Vietnam-era Army veteran confined to a wheelchair, now retired and living in New Hampshire.

He was at the CCI facility where he had trained with Ocean, now his service dog. Ocean will assist Richard with everyday tasks like opening doors, drawers, refrigerators, etc. He will be able to turn lights on and off and pick up any dropped objects on command…. wallets, phones, credit cards and other objects as small as a dime.

Richard is a special individual who, along with a group of other special people, forms an organization in New Hampshire known as the Pease Greeters. This is their stated mission:

The Pease Greeters Mission:

· To welcome troops passing through Pease International Airport on their way to, or from, Afghanistan or Iraq, or any other areas of conflict in any part of the world.

· To create within the Pease Trade Port an environment that reflects the respect and high esteem in which we hold all veterans.

· To promote broad participation by the general public in this welcoming of heroes, paying special attention to the education of school children by instilling respect and admiration for the troops through formal ceremonies for each flight.

The flight at Pease AFB in Portsmouth, NH could be landing or leaving at 4:00 PM or 4:00 AM and some number of Pease Greeters will be there to give the soldiers the type of welcome home or send-off that a soldier in the United States military deserves!
This is particularly important because due to the remote location of the airport few if any of the soldiers will have family there. For the soldiers returning from a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s possible that there was little if any time between leaving a combat zone and getting on a plane home.

Being greeted the way that they are by the Pease Greeters and now by Ocean will in many ways be more therapeutic than anything else could possibly be at that time.

Ocean will be helping to ensure the success of the Pease Greeters mission the way that only a dog can do!

But besides getting to meet Richard, I met a number of other trainees and their family’s at CCI who left with service dogs like Ocean that will help them with some of the most basic daily functions that once again, most of us take for granted.

The CCI mission!

The facility provides housing for up to ten families at each training session. In addition the building houses kennels, veterinary offices, training rooms, classrooms and outdoor pens. The building is spotless and if you didn’t know that dogs lived there you couldn’t tell any other way.

CCI survives on the charitable kindness of its current friends and the people like me who were already friends but just didn’t know it yet.

Help can take many different forms such as being a volunteer puppy raiser, but above all CCI needs donations to maintain the stellar level of service to the people that they help!

If you can, go out and visit the facility to see in person the great work that they do at CCI.

And please help this fantastic organization keep doing the critically important work that they do by clicking on the link below and giving whatever you can!

Click here to donate to Canine Companions for Independence!

ABOUT CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE: Canine Companions for Independence is the largest non-profit provider of trained assistance dogs with five regional training centers across the country. Established in 1975, Canine Companions provides highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and on-going follow-up services. For more information, visit or call 1-800-572-BARK

Mike Haltman, Partner
Hallmark Abstract Service

“Hallmark Abstract works harder to make your closings easier!”
Michael Haltman, Partner
Hallmark Abstract Service
131 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 205, Jericho, New York 11753
516.741.4723 (O) 516.741.6838 (F)

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