In late 2012, CEID applied to Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) for a Facility Dog to work with the children served by CEID at its Berkeley center. In order to qualify there was a detailed application to complete, telephone interviews, letters of reference, and a full day of live practice and interviews at the Canine Companions’ Santa Rosa campus. After a year and a half of waiting CEID learned that it would be paired with the facility dog who was perfect for our unique facility, Nan.
Nan began her life as part of the puppy program of Canine Companions for Independence. When Nan was old enough to be away from her littermates she was placed in the care of volunteer puppy raisers who invested 20 loving months in teaching Nan basic obedience and social skills. She then completed six months of rigorous training at the CCI facility in Santa Rosa and the expectations were high. Only the best of the best are ever matched with human partners and only about 50% of the dogs who enter the training ever actually graduate as assistance dogs. Needless to say, Nan passed with flying colors.
Now a working facility dog, Nan uses her knowledge of over 40 different commands including picking up objects for a special delivery, pushing open doors and even pulling a wagon each school day at CEID. Nan is also an expert in providing unconditional love, relieving stress and increasing feelings of well-being and acceptance making her the most popular member of our amazing CEID staff!Tell me more!
Nan and the CEID Children
What makes Nan special is the fact that she was bred and trained for very specific work – work that entails paying careful attention to the needs and commands of her human partner; work that requires a positive attitude and happy temperament; work that demands gentleness with children.
The children of CEID absolutely love Nan. She helps them complete puzzles. She selects songs for them on the Promethean board. She teaches them different body parts, from her tail to the tip of her nose! She helps them select words during speech therapy. She pulls them in the play yard cart. Best of all, she never judges them. She always greets them with a happy face and wagging tail.
As a Facility Dog working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and with additional special needs, Nan is able to model behaviors and achieve results in ways that make the children yearn for more. Nan teaches children about scheduling, about time to return to the classroom or move to another part of the curriculum. She teaches them about sharing, about taking turns to pet her and spend time with her. She teaches them about good grooming while the children see her teeth brushed and coat combed. It helps that Nan is “child size,” not towering over them or crouching down to be on their level. At a trim 50 lbs, she is the perfect size for hugging and cuddling.
Every day Nan and Cindy discover new ways to interact with the children and every interaction with Nan brings smiles to the faces of the children at CEID.
You can be part of Nan’s work with the children of CEID. Become a Nan Fan by “friending” Nan on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nanceidfacilitydog, by following Nan on Twitter Nan@NanCEID, and, best of all, by making a donation to The Facility Dog Program at CEID by clicking here. Your support will ensure that the work of Cindy and Nan continue and that The Facility Dog Program curriculum grows.
We also encourage you to keep visiting this web site to check for blogs from Nan and stories of her work.