Southwest Airlines has committed its support to Canine Companions for Independence by allowing volunteer puppy raisers and their puppies to travel at no additional charge (a savings of $95 per puppy per trip).
The company has instituted this benefit as a standard policy after a very successful six-month trial. The puppy raisers were professional and the puppies were well-behaved.
The puppies gain valuable experience with commercial flying even before they are fully trained and graduate. So the Airline is supporting the Canine Companions’ training program with practical skills.
Founded in 1975, CCI 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. CCI 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. CCI trains four types of assistance dogs: Service dogs, Hearing dogs, Skilled Companion dogs, and Facility dogs—all of which provide specialized assistance to those in need.
Well done to Southwest Airlines!
Puppy raisers pre-board each aircraft at the same time that passengers with disabilities are given the opportunity to board. The dogs must have a valid vaccination record and CCI identification must also be produced.
Source: The Companion, Northeast Region, Summer 2016
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand