“She always gets excited when she gets down a new command we’ve been working on.”
This is Estrella! She just turned 11 months old. She is a Golden Retriever and Lab mix. She is a part of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), which is a national organization that breeds, trains, and places animals to those in need, free of charge. CCI is also a nonprofit, which is one reason why the owner decided to train through them. The University of Mary Washington also has a CCI club, so it allows student trainers to train on campus and bring the dogs to classes and in dorms. Thus, educating the community on how to act around service animals and the importance of service animals. Estrella like to do everything! For example, she loves playing fetch and working. Her owner loves training her and teaching her new commands because they both get to learn and take on the process together. Estrella is currently working on commands and knows 23 of them. She needs to know about 35 commands before she can go on to advanced training. Both Estrella and her owner get excited when she masters a new command. To her owner, Estrella means freedom because she will hopefully go on a give someone else freedom that they don’t have in their life and allow them to live their life how they want it, not bound by their disability. Estrella loves to play with anything that squeaks. She can play with that for hours! She is such a happy pup, which motivates her owner everyday to keep training her and working hard together.