CaPR: One person. One dog. Partners in Life.

 Click here for information on the photographs I use in the header.

(Note: This article was originally published in the Arvada Press and its affiliated newspapers of Our Colorado News, and is used here with permission.)

 The Octomom has nothing on Bridget. Shortly after this California mom was introducing her octuplets to the world, Bridget quietly gave birth to nine of her own little ones in the warmth of an Arvada home.

Even before Bridget’s babies were two months old, people were clamoring to take care of them, and some of them were raised by volunteers right here in Jefferson County.

I’ve read that the Octomom received lots of support; so did Bridget…round-the-clock watchfulness, constant cleaning up, and daily handling known as “peaceful puppy.”

Puppy?

There’s nothing like a little bundle of energy and trust and love!

Yes, if you hadn’t already guessed, Bridget is a well-loved golden retriever whose nine puppies were destined for the CaPR program—Canine Partners of the Rockies, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization that raises, trains and places service dogs with mobility limited Colorado residents. Each puppy received a Colorado-based “R” name: Rowena, Ruby, Reese, Raven, Romeo, Rosita, Roy (think Patrick…), Racine, and Rinker. These pups are now full-grown and serving in different parts of the CaPR program.

Because part of CaPR’s mission is to provide highly skilled service dogs, after 18 months with volunteers for puppy raising—including manners, basic commands, and socialization—these dogs then go to professional advanced trainers to learn how to help their partners lead more independent lives.

Emma…Miss Popularity!

Emma captures your heart!

Another professional, Emma, is arguably one of Arvada’s most-recognized residents; Emma is a “demo dog,” a dog that’s been trained to assist as a service dog and travels around the state for presentations to small groups such preschools and to thousands of people at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. In fact, Emma has made more than 7,000 new friends at events such as these that were staffed in part by CaPR volunteers.

Emma’s sister Eldora also represents another element of CaPR’s mission, that of facility dog. Eldora works with a social worker who uses Eldora in therapy with clients. And one of Bridget’s puppies, Roy (think hockey), is now a fully trained service dog that is part of a facilitated partnership. An adult or other caregiver handles the dog in public because, for instance, the person needing assistance may be too young to handle or care for the dog alone.

One of the most striking aspects of CaPR is how much the organization counts on its more than 100 volunteers. CaPR currently has only two paid staff, and one is part-time. Board members serve pro bono, and the organization relies on its volunteers to raise puppies and to puppy sit, to do public speaking and education, and to promote the organization and raise funds—pulling beer at street festivals, answering calls at phone banks, and putting on CaPR’s major fundraising event, Bow Ties & Tails. This year’s Bow Ties & Tails is scheduled for September 22, 2012.

70th Anniversary…in dog years!

Full Disclosure: Andrea Doray is a volunteer for CaPR…and is Joyce Thielen’s sister.

CaPR is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2012 (that’s 70 in dog years). Joyce Thielen, a volunteer board member who raised Emma and participates in Emma’s advanced training, says she chose to volunteer for CaPR because, “I wanted to serve the disabled community and realized I could raise a puppy without needing professional therapy skills. I can help lay the foundation for a dog that will help someone in my community enjoy a more fulfilling independent life.”

Thielen also hopes to lead by example, not only for her grown children, but also for the hundreds of school children she visits with Emma every year. “CaPR is dedicated to educating the public about the roles assistance dogs play in the lives of people with disabilities,” Thielen says.

For more information about Canine Partners of the Rockies—and adorable puppy photos of the newest babies—visit CaPR’s website. Check out ways to volunteer!

“These are remarkable partnerships,” says Thielen,
“one person, one dog…partners in life.”


Click here for information on the photographs I use in the header. 

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