Hawaii Canine for Independence - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Canine for Independence


(HawaiiNewsNow) - Queens Hospital and the Maui Prosecutors Office are among those receiving Assistance Dogs at the upcoming graduation ceremony at Hawaii Canines for Independence (HCI) on Saturday, June 16th at HCI's main campus in Makawao, Maui. The teams are currently attending Hawaii Canines for Independence's Team Training Camp, and the dogs were recently matched with their new partners after completing 1 ½ - 2 years of training, as well as, passing rigorous health and temperament screenings.

Graduating Teams:

• Queens Hospital Cancer Clinic and Hospital Facility Dog Yoda

• Yokohama Children's Hospital and Hospital Facility Dog Yogi

• Maui Prosecutors Office and Courthouse Dog Sadie

• Blake P. (16-years-old with Muscular Dystrophy) and Service Dog Riggins

• Roselani Place (Assisted Living Center) and Facility Dog Quigley

• Sabah V. and Social Therapy Dog Winston


Service Dogs are carefully selected based on breed, health, and temperament and begin training at 7 weeks old. They must complete four stages of training; Kindergarten, Basic, Advanced and Graduate, which takes about 1 ½ to 2 years. Service Dogs learn over 90 commands and are trained to perform specific skills that will assist their partners.

Training Camp:

Students attend an intensive two to three-week Team Training Camp with the dogs they have been matched with. The teams learn to work together and the recipients must memorize the 90 commands that the dogs already know. Students also learn about canine psychology, health care and how to bring out the best in their canine partner.


Teams that complete Team Training Camp celebrate their accomplishment with a graduation ceremony that marks the beginning of their new lives together. Past graduates, trainers, puppy raisers, breeders, sponsors and supporters all attend graduations and join in celebrating the successful accomplishment of each graduating team.

Follow Up:

HCI provides free follow up visits and training for the life of each team. This is especially important for graduates that may have disabilities that are progressive. The dogs continually learn new skills that are needed to help their partners.

About HCI:

Hawaii Canines for Independence is a 501-C(3) non-profit organization that provides Assistance Dogs to children and adults in Hawaii with physical disabilities and special needs. HCI is based on Maui and also has an office in Honolulu. HCI specializes in training Service Dogs for people with disabilities and assists in placing Guide Dogs for the blind, Hearing Dogs for the deaf and Seizure Response Dogs for people with seizure disorders. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, HCI places its Service Dogs and lifetime follow up training free of charge to the recipients.

HCI benefits hundreds of people throughout Hawaii each week with a variety of Therapy Dog programs designed to benefit, support and enhance the lives of people with physical and developmental disabilities in our community.


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