Dogs Paddle Out for a Cause on Fort Lauderdale Beach

Dogs and their owners gathered at the dog beach at Sunrise Boulevard and A1A for a paddle boarding and surf competition on Saturday, September 24. Tons of pooches turned out to hang twenty. Proceeds from the event benefitted Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that provides free assistance dogs to those in need.

Photography by Carina Mask for New Times

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, Canine Companions is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs, and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship.

This life changing result begins with the our breeding program. Using advanced technology, the breeding program meticulously selects and pairs dogs for breeding

Volunteer breeder caretakers provide homes for the breeder dogs and whelp the puppies, returning the puppies to our national headquarters in Santa Rosa, California at age eight weeks.

From there the puppies are placed with volunteer puppy raisers across the nation for socialization and obedience training. Between the ages of fifteen and eighteen months the puppies return to one of five Canine Companions Regional Training Centers across the country for six months of training.

We train four types of assistance dogs to master over 40 specialized commands: Service Dogs, Skilled Companions, Hearing Dogs and Facility Dogs. After completing training, the dogs are teamed with a graduate during an intensive two week training period, Team Training.