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Vargas Graduated

 Final Newsletter page2 image1I received Vargas III on August 30, 2017 and turned him in for professional training at Canine Companions for Independence on February 15, 2019. Vargas III was my 11
dog to raise and during our time together I taught him over 30 commands. He was a joy to raise because he was always obedient and ready to work. I was thrilled when I saw he was featured in the 2019 calendar for the month of July.

On August 9, 2019 Vargas III graduated with Maddi, they are an awesome Service Dog Team! Every year, the LPCCI president designs a special pin for their presidential term and how appropriate that I chose his calendar photo for my 2019-2020 pin. I would like to share a few words I received from Maddi:

“Vargas has been a truly wonderful service dog by helping me to become more independent. He is very responsive to the commands I give him and every day he picks things off the ground or various surfaces that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. Moreover, he has been an amazing companion
that keeps me company during our public outings”. - Maddi

Respectfully, Lion Teresa J. Hart, LPCCI President

Greetings From Kentucky

As the 2018-2019 President of LPCCI last year, I set my goals to continue sharing the amazing wFinal Newsletter page2 image2ork that Lions Clubs have done to support the Lions Project throughout the United States creating more awareness and financial growth for Canine Companions for Independence.

Last year we were successful in gaining new Lions Clubs as LPCCI members, new trustees and many new donors. All six regions of Canine Companions are more aware of the great work Lions across the United States are doing to support Canine Companions.

Part way through my presidency last year, one of my Vice Presidents asked if I would continue as president of LPCCI for the 2019-2020 year. After much consideration, I knew my work wasn’t finished and I agreed to continue this great journey of growth and be president an additional year. During my first term I thoroughly enjoyed learning new things, meeting new people and teaching Lions from many different places the great support LPCCI gives Canine Companions.

On July 1, 2019 I started my second term as president and can’t wait to continue on this journey of growth for LPCCI. One of my goals for LPCCI this year is to attend a few Lions Conventions to create more awareness of LPCCI in states that we don’t have as
much Lions support. Some of these include Kentucky, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota and Missouri. Another goal is encouraging my fellow Lions that I meet along the way at these state conventions to become trustees for LPCCI. These trustees will help engage more Lions and gain more support for Canine Companions.

I’m excited to see all the wonderful ways LPCCI will serve Canine Companions during this year and I am even more excited to have you join me along the way.
Respectfully, Lion Teresa J. Hart, LPCCI President

Raise a Dog, CHANGE A LIFE

I started my life like a normal kid. Playing soccer, riding horses, and going to school. But everything changed for me when I was going into high school. I was raped.
I did not know how to cope with the emotional distress and the thoughts that went through my head. I believed that it was my fault and instead of telling anyone, I held the secret inside where it slowly ate away at my soul. I started doing things to try to numb the pain and I isolated myself from my friends and family and this ultimately led me down a path of addiction.
LPCCI 2018Spring Newsletter page2 image2This addiction took me down an ugly road that made me do things I would never do sober. It drove me away from my family and destroyed many friendships. It didn’t take long for me to get arrested. It took me a while to get over my resentment and actually accept responsibility for the things I did, but once I did I was finally able to move forward with my life. I finally realized that it was time for a change and that I really needed to do something different with my life. I was sent to Folsom Women’s Facility and it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I was able to rediscover who I was as a person. I had time to reflect on the person that I had become and decide who I want to be. I decided to get sober and start doing positive things for myself. I first started taking college classes. I didn’t actually believe that I could do well in these classes, but I was hoping to at least pass. I wanted to do something productive with my time instead of just sitting around wasting it. When I got my first grades back I was shocked! I got all A’s! I enrolled for another quarter and continued this success with college. I left prison with an AA degree and a 4.0 GPA.

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Milpitas Executive Lions Club 3rd Annual Celebrating Differences

You're invited to the Milpitas Executive Lions Club 3rd Annual Celebrating Differences, a Special Kids and Adult Family Day Event on Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 1-5 pm in partnership with the City of Milpitas Recreation

Department at the Milpitas Community Center located at 457 E. Calaveras Blvd Milpitas, CA.

Our Mission is to provide Challenged Children, Adults and their Families, a Special Day to Enrich, Entertain and Honor these Special Individuals for their courage, determination and positive attitude about Life.

Kindly spread this event to everyone who may be involved with individuals with special needs.

If you have any questions please e-mail: or call (408)430-7830.

Thank you for your support!

Download Flyer & Registration form for anyone who will be interested to participate.

Celebrating Differences

A New Leash On Life

Lion Nancy Lagasse of Virginia was 72 hours from killing herself when the phone rang and four words—

’You have a dog’—changed her life.

“What a beautiful seeing-eye dog,” the woman in the parking lot says to Nancy Lagasse. It’s not the first time she’s heard it today, and it won’t be the last. Inwardly, she has to laugh. First of all, she’s not blind, and, secondly, at that very moment, she’s getting out of her van, car keys in hand.

Yet, as she is each and every time, Lagasse is polite and enthusiastic, explaining that her 90-pound Labrador Retriever is a wonderfully talented canine companion, service dog and goodwill ambassador who supports her as she lives with multiple sclerosis. Lagasse is tempted to add—but refrains— that her four-legged, tail-wagging helper has not yet learned to drive.

It has been 11 years since the call came that altered the rapid downward course of her life. Lagasse had been a thriving nurse, artist, homemaker, horseback rider and volunteer when she was diagnosed in 2000 with multiple sclerosis, a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own nerves. Besides stabbing pain, the disorder causes balance and movement problems, dizziness and eventually, in its progressive forms, substantial disability. Lagasse had been forced to use a cane and sometimes a wheelchair.

As time passed, Lagasse lost her job, her home, her husband and her will to go on. She was 55 years old.
“Life as I knew it ceased to exist,” she says today. “My mind tried to will my body to perform the things that I had done for my entire life, but it was futile. I could no longer work at the job that I loved dearly. I could no longer ride horseback or will my hands to play the piano, paint or sculpt or bake with my children. My husband left me and took our money. I believed my life was over. I had a plan to end my pain.”

Fatefully, two years earlier, Lagasse had gotten on the long waiting list of an organization called Canine Companions for Independence, which trains and provides assistance dogs, free of charge, to people with disabilities. Founded in 1975, CCI was the first program of its type in the nation, and its “graduates” are hugely in demand. When the call came that Lagasse had finally made it to the top of the list, she was just three days from the date she’d chosen to put an end to it all.

“I told them I’d think about it,” Lagasse remembers. “Which shocked them, because these dogs are so in demand. But I had given up hope. I’d confided in my daughter about my plans, and she begged me to go up to this small town on Long Island where they conducted two-week training sessions for the recipients of service dogs. I went, thinking it would be our last mother-daughter trip.

” What Lagasse found in Medford, New York, was community, hope and, ultimately, life. Who she found was Arkin, a two-and-a- half-year-old, mind-reading partner who could—among some 50 different commands— pick up whatever she dropped, take off her socks, empty her clothes dryer, turn lights on and off and, most importantly (and without any command needed), accept her for who she was.

“When I got to CCI,” Lagasse says, “I was amazed. These people wanted nothing from me—all the training and provision of the dogs is paid for by corporate and private donations. They knew I was balanced on the precipice and they were ready for my needs. Everything began to change.” It was during her stay at CCI that the Lions appeared on her radar.
“The two weeks of learning to work with our service dogs on the CCI campus were intense but rewarding. I was in a class of twelve, each with varied disabilities,” says Lagasse. “In our downtime we gathered in the beautiful bistro and family room which was made possible by contributions from Lions clubs. It was called the Lions Den, and it was the place we’d share our stories of what brought us to Canine Companions. We’d eat, play games, watch movies and just bond, hugging and supporting one another. These were the most giving people I have ever met. They were loving, supportive and positive. I began to realize that life was a gift. That anything was possible.”

When she returned to her home in Virginia with Arkin, you could say she had an entirely new leash on life. Arkin showered her with love and friendship and made it possible for her to go just about anywhere and do just about anything. Along with her CCI classmates and fellow graduates, she felt part of a nationwide community—“wrapped in their arms,” as she puts it. And she never forgot the generosity of Lions. By 2008, she was one herself.

Today, Nancy Lagasse is a little bit busy. She volunteers her time for nine different organizations including Habitat for Humanity, a veterans’ group, a suicide prevention concern, a hospital and her synagogue. “One of my favorite quotes comes from Gandhi,” she offers. “He said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.’ Volunteering does as much or more for me as it does for those we serve.”

First and foremost, according to her, Lagasse is an active member of the Warrenton Sunrise Lions Club—about an hour west of Washington, D.C. When she moved 20 miles south to Culpeper, her club wouldn’t let her leave, and some days they drive nearly an hour to bring her to meetings. “It’s a real family,” she says. “I’m so proud of being a Lion.”
As a Virginia District 24 trustee for the Lions Project for Canine Companions, Lagasse gives presentations throughout the District of Columbia area, promoting CCI to Lions clubs and other groups. She tells her story, and how her life changed with the help of her furry helper.

“When I go out and about in public,” Lagasse points out, “whether with a cane or wheelchair, people used to stare at me with pity or avoid me all together. Now strangers still look at me—but, in reality, they are staring at my canine partner. He’s a people magnet! They are drawn to me with questions, compliments and admiration. I often laugh and share with them that now it is never about me! It’s all about my pooch. How wonderful that is.” It hasn’t always been easy.


CCI assistance dogs are retired from active service around age eight, and go on to become much loved family pets. Parting with Arkin almost sent Lagasse back down the rabbit hole. “Retiring the dog that saved my life was so tough,” she remembers. “When they began the process of providing me with a second dog, I said, ‘I can’t do this again. I don’t want another dog.’ They patiently convinced me that I could go home with a second dog and continue to live independently ... or not.” So Lagasse went home with Writer, named in honor of longtime CCI supporter and bestselling author Dean Koontz. The well-fed dog bears an uncanny resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock. Like the famous director, Writer is very, very smart. And unlike said director, not at all creepy.

“CCI matches a dog with you both physically and emotionally,” says Lagasse. I will always deal with depression, so I need a sensitive dog. Writer knows how to help me.” That ranges from emotional support to helping her do laundry to bringing her drinks from the fridge—although since cans look like cans to a dog, Lagasse never knows if she’ll get a soda or a beer. So Nancy Lagasse moves forward, helping as many people as she can through her Lions club and many other groups. She’s horseback riding and snow skiing again and relearning the piano.

“There’s something very powerful,” she explains, “about standing at the precipice of your life. Every single day after is a choice. You ask yourself, ‘Is this day going to matter? Will I live it to the fullest?’ My biggest life lesson is to see MS as an inconvenience rather than a roadblock. With Writer’s help I can do anything anyone else can—I just have to figure out how to do it differently. Disabled is not unable, and, yes, I will live to the fullest every day.”

Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion

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Dear Lions Club President and Members,  You are well aware of the many wonderful ways in which Canine
Companions for Independence® enriches the lives of so many people with disabilities by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs. What you may not know — Canine Companions recently opened a brand new training center in Irving, Texas. This new center will help serve more adults, children and veterans with disabilities in Texas such as Brian.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Brian Boone was on tour in Afghanistan when he was struck by an IED. “I didn’t realize at first how much a dog would be able to help me, but he is so well trained. He has really changed my life,” says Brian.
 As supporters of Canine Companions, the Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence (LPCCI) has an opportunity to help name the family room on the new campus, the Lions Den. With this new facility, Canine Companions is able to reduce wait time for an assistance dog, provide a higher level of service and will place more assistance dogs than ever before.

LPCCI’s commitment to Canine Companions is long standing. To show our support for this new center, LPCCI pledged $150,000 over a three-year period, knowing our contribution makes a difference in the lives of the many veterans, children and adults with disabilities that Canine Companions serves.
 I’m convinced we can meet our goal. If just 100 clubs make a $1,500 donation, our commitment will be satisfied. LPCCI formed the 100 Club Lions Den Sponsor program. Won’t you be one of the first 100 clubs to support this pledge to help veterans with disabilities?

As a 100 Club Lions Den Sponsor, your club will receive a banner plate in recognition of your donation and support of the new Lions Den. But most importantly, your support will help veterans with disabilities like Jason.
 U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Jason Morgan’s vehicle was ambushed during a counter-narcotics mission in South America in 1999, causing it to tumble down a cliff. Jason was thrown from the vehicle and his back was crushed when the vehicle rolled over him. Jason awoke two months later paralyzed from the waist down and would never walk again.

“Being in special ops, they don’t teach you very much humility. When you have that mentality, and that’s the training that has been brought to you, to really humble yourself and let other people help you is extremely tough,” explains Jason on his loss of independence after his injury. “But I’m telling you, it’s so much easier for a dog to do it.”
 Canine Companions’ assistance dogs are expertly trained and provided to recipients at NO COST. Your generosity has helped make a life-changing difference for veterans who have given so much. We can’t do it without you. Thank you for your support.

P.S. Remember, we need 100 clubs to make a $1,500 donation to fulfill our pledge to support this life-changing mission. Be one of the first 100 clubs to support veterans like Brian and Jason to receive your 100 Club Lions Den Sponsor banner plate for your club’s banner. Thank you!

Download Sponsor Form 

From puppy to working dog

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The experience of a volunteer puppy raiser Puppies are cute and fluffy. They’re also
very curious and creative in their activities. Unless there is a dedicated program of supervision and training, puppies will grow up to be uncontrollable dogs. That is not the goal of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). Puppies bred by CCI are meant to be service dogs, and unless the puppies experience  proper training and socialization they will not be able to perform their intended duties.

That is where volunteer puppy raisers come in. At 8 weeks of age, after having been born in the homes of volunteer breeder/caretakers in California, the puppies arrive in the homes of volunteer puppy raisers all over the US. Immediately, the pups begin learning basic commands just like you would teach your pet dog. Socialization is very important, so the pups are exposed to many people and other animals. This is crucial because we don’t know where the pups will live when they go to work. They may live in a big city or on a farm. They may have to ride a bus or train to work every day. So it’s appropriate to expose them to these things at a young age so they don’t have any  issues when they go to work.

As a puppy raiser you and the puppy will attend Canine Companions approved training classes where you will be instructed in establishing house manners, basic obedience and  socialization. The class instructors are there to assist puppy raisers in problem solving unwanted behavior and to guide volunteers through the puppy raising process.

Once the pup is well trained and socialized, the puppy raiser often really feels the sense of accomplishment and reward from all of those hours of diligence in the early weeks of the pup’s life. The thoroughly trained pup can go just about anywhere. They are so well behaved that many people aren’t aware of their presence in a restaurant or movie theater.

Then the inevitable happens. It comes time for the puppy to return to Canine Companions for 6 months of advanced training before they go into the working world. For some, this can be the most difficult part as a puppy raiser, but we know from the beginning this dog was bred for a job. Now the dog goes away, just like sending a child off to college. “Now, get good grades, puppy, and find a good job when you graduate!”

Six months later comes the time to see this precious pup graduate. The raiser goes up on the stage and hands the leash to the client for whom the pup will work. As a raiser, it is very gratifying to see the bond already established between client and dog in the two weeks they have trained together.
This entire experience is what puppy raisers have worked for. This is what makes us cry tears of joy. This is what makes us Lions! Now it’s time for another puppy to arrive in our home. We start again to help improve the life of someone less fortunate than us.

Florida md 35 Convention

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Lions are terrific people and so are all the volunteers and staff that work with Canine  Companions for Independence.   It doesn’t matter if you’re in Florida, California, or anywhere in between; reports are that you’ll find welcoming, dedicated people finding ways to make this world a better place.
Many months ago, LPCCI (that would be our Sarah Haberthur) reached out to the fine Lions organizing the Florida MD 35 convention for Florida and the Bahamas and asked that LPCCI be part of the festivities.  
LPCCI and Canine Companions for Independence are not really well known to Lions in Florida.  However, with a Canine Companions for Independence Campus in Orlando, it seems only logical that some puppies and a little education would solve that problem.  This was the goal of the trip.
I’m pleased to share that LPCCI was received very warmly! The more we shared about the differences between the duties of Canine Companions’ service and facility dogs and the differences between Guide Dogs and Leader Dogs, the more greatly their understanding grew.
Puppy raisers from Jacksonville joined me to share their experiences, as did a graduate with her service dog.  We were also delighted that Martha Johnson from Canine Companions made the long journey to join us.  Nothing like seeing things first hand.
My thanks to the Lions of MD 35 for the nice reception and willingness to learn about our group.  Also, many thanks for the efforts of Canine Companions and the local puppy raisers that made sure we were well represented and had some fun, too.

  I look forward to a successful future together and building a strong relationship with the Lions Clubs in Florida!

outgoing president’s message

To all of you who share and support the LPCCI mission, thank you.  You are appreciated more than you know.
What a quick year this has been!  Allow me a brief recap of our successes: LPCCI attended Lions Conventions in California, Nevada, New York and Florida, sharing
our mission and our passion.  We continued to educate Lions about Canine Companions for Independence and Canine
Companions Volunteer Chapters about LPCCI and Lions. We found opportunities for the two get to know each other and to work together.

We attended Canine Companions’ Team 2015 in Florida. We committed to naming opportunities in both North Central and South Central Regional
Centers.  President, Mark Steffens, will need us to find new fundraising opportunities around the country to make this happen.
We enhanced some internal and election processes. And….we increased donations to Canine Companions by more than $6,000 over last year
to date! All in all, a solid year.  Thank you again for your passion and support of our mission. Woof!

26th annual Crab Feast

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On March 13, 2016 Lions Project Canine for Companions (LPCCI) and District 4 C-5  celebrated our 26th annual CRAB FEAST! We had 600 Lions and guests and it was held at the Citrus Heights community center. St. Patrick’s Day was the theme for the event.
It is the largest crab feed in the area. We had over 75 training and service puppies from Canine Companions for Independence with many of them dressed in the St. Patrick’s theme.
There was a separate room filled with raffle and silent auction items.  You could also place bids on some wonderful desserts.
Our guests were  treated to a sit down all–you-can-eat salad, clam chowder, crab, shrimp and garlic bread dinner, all served by the Leo Lions clubs. It is also the only crab feed where homemade clam chowder is made by a secret recipe from the Sunrise Lions Club.
 Special thanks go out to the following clubs: Sunrise Lions Club for the wonderful cooking and has done so for many years; Folsom Lake Lions Club for purchasing the decorations and setting up the ballroom; Pride of Laguna Creek Lions Club  for setting up and serving drinks at the bar; Davis Aggies and Golden Spikes Lions Clubs for cleaning the kitchen and washing the many pots, pans and dishes; Embarcadero and Capital Lions Clubs for selling drink  and raffle tickets; LEOs, Advisers and Parents from Placerville to Woodland for being  our dedicated servers;  Roseville Host and Fair Oak Host Lions Clubs for their help and  support; and finally, the Gold Rush Chapter of Canine Companions for our amazing raffle and silent auction.  
On May 13th LPCCI donated a check for $25,000 to Canine Companions for Independence at their graduation.  This check represented a lot of hard work and dedication from our 4-C5 Lions.  If you haven’t already had a chance to come, please try to join us for our 2017 feast!

Canine Companions’ sixth training Center opens in texas

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The first phase of construction of the new campus was completed in October. This facility allows Canine Companions the space to train and place up to 30 assistance dogs each year. Phase two of the construction, which will be completed in 2016/2017 based on fundraising results, will increase the training center’s capacity to 60 teams per year.

The training center is already helping with the recruitment of volunteer puppy raisers and applicants in Texas, including more military veterans through The Wounded Veterans Initiative™.
Thanks to over three years of hard work and an impactful partnership between Canine Companions for Independence® and Baylor, Scott & White Health, the first Team Training, graduation, and puppy matriculation were held in November of 2015 at the new Canine Companions at Baylor, Scott & White Health — Kinkeade Campus.

A special thank you to Baylor, Scott & White Health and the Honorable Judge Ed Kinkeade for making Canine Companions’ sixth training center a reality and for a truly Texas-sized grand opening! A whirlwind of events helped to celebrate the opening:

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inComing president’s message

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As your new incoming president of LPCCI for 2016-2017I would like to thank you for this opportunity to serve.   I’m a fairly new member since I recently joined the  Embarcadero Lions Club in 2013.  It was in 2014 when I became a trustee for LPCCI. What many of you may not know is I’ve been raising puppies since 1993, and I am  currently raising number 18. Little did I know that even with this deep passion for raising puppies, I had another passion for letting others know how these four-legged  miracles could change others’ lives.

Over this past year with Rex (Matriculated May 13, 2016) and Kale, my current puppy, we have made over 60 presentations together. These presentations have been for the Lions, Leo, Rotary, and Kiwanis Clubs, Senior Living Residents, Boy and Girl Scout Clubs, Schools, Veterans Groups, etc.
Let’s all embrace these opportunities in this new LPCCI year. I would like to see more trustees make more monthly donations within our ranks. Wondering how you could becLife Member? Reach out to your Leo Clubs for future puppy raisers for their high school senior projects. Attend and promote LPCCI at cabinet meetings, conventions and other events.  Invite puppy raisers and graduates to assist with the presentations.  Strive for  Cabinet status in all districts within your reach and become your District Trustee.
I will send out information on your local CCI chapters so they become part of our outreach. Continue to remind our fellow Lions of puppy raising opportunities.  Last but not least, participate in a DogFest Walk n’ Roll event near you by setting up a LPCCI booth or bgetting an LPCCI or Lions Club team organized.

LPCCI has made a commitment to raise $150,000 for our newest training center in Irving, Texas.  Help us complete our commitment in raising funds for the South Central Team Lodge Family Room, The Lions Den.
Finally, but first and foremost, have fun. The enthusiasm you generate is infectious.  Remember, there is a very special person waiting for a very special dog to love them, work for them, and be their confidant and best friend.

Pedaling Puppy Raisers Cycling Across the U.S.

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   Bill and I are the Pedaling Puppy Raisers, bicycling across the USA and raising awareness for Canine Companions for Independence.
With every hill we slowly peddle up and with each head wind we encounter, we will be inspired by the good work of this organization which provides exceptional dogs for exceptional people. Thank you for your support.
 Bill & Barb Bochner
Help support their efforts  |  Follow the Blog

18 April 2021

Follow our journey eastward
  • If you want to contact us..
    Questions for us about bike touring that we’ve done or about supporting Canine Companions for Independence?? You can reach us directly at either or . Thanks, Barb and Bill
  • April 24: And in Conclusion…
    We have some more photos to show you from our fun meet ups yesterday with the Canine Companions Jacksonville Puppy Outing Group . This trip was a learning experience as all travel is, and a challenging adventure for us, but most of all, it was a rewarding  chance to help raise awareness for this great […]
  • Day 58:We’ve Reached St. Augustine!
        April 23, 2016 Palatka, FL to St. Augustine, FL Day: 39.6 miles; Total: 3,134.2 miles Elevation Gain: 300′ Map Link:   We packed up the bike panniers one last time and headed out across the St John’s River. Our route had us winding north and even west through farms, and then along the […]
  • Day 57:Getting Closer…
        April 22, 2016 Gainesville, FL to Palatka, FL Day: 57.4 miles; Total: 3,094.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,073′ Map Link:   Breakfast options for an early start in Gainesville were a McDonalds or Fast Eddy’s so of course we joined the crowd of locals at the walk up/drive up window for FE’s breakfast sandwiches […]

GoodBye for Now

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Feature from our Lions Share Winter edition 


The experience of serving this past year as your Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence (LPCCI) President has been a rewarding and happy experience. I am honored to have been selected for this duty, and I look forward to continuing my service to this great foundation. Our new president, Lion Cris Gerard, has smoothly transitioned into the job and has great ideas for her year as our leader. We all need to be supportive as, not only Cris, but the entire board of directors seek to improve what we do and increase our giving to Canine Companions for Independence.
I began my year last July with a few goals in mind, and I’m happy to report that we achieved those goals. Firstly, I wanted to increase our annual giving to Canine Companions for Independence. We had a great year and surpassed our budget by $9,000. This is mainly due to the work performed by all of our trustees and directors in the field. Thank you to each of you. Please continue to reach higher in the future.

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Trustee Of the Year

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Feature from our Lions Share Winter edition 


My name is Mark Steffens, your 1st Vice President for the Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence. I have been a volunteer as a Puppy Raiser/Breeder Caretaker with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) since 1993 and a Lion since 2013. My current puppy in training is Rex who is our 17th puppy that we have raised for this wonderful program!
Since joining the Lions I have become an active member with our club and LPCCI. Now that I’m a trustee I have had the opportunity to go out and visit over 25 Lions Clubs in District 4-C5, attended cabinet meetings, and conventions. Even when I’m doing a presentation for The Rotary Clubs,
Canine Companions for Independence, and Sons in Retirement I always mention LPCCI.
It is very common when I attend events that many of my fellow Lions know my puppies in training better than they know me.
As I tell everyone, it’s my puppies that gave me the opportunity to become LPCCI trustee of the year!

Mark Steffens, 1st Vice President, LPCCI


Advanced Training Christmas Picture

Addie Xmas

After having Addie  as a puppy raiser we are very proud to say she is doing good in the Northeast Training Center.
Here's Addie in her advanced training Christmas picture from CCI Northeast Training Center! She's the one with the A stocking.

Left to right are:Levin III, Fliegel, Lovisa, Addie, Zuko and Haji III with Northeast Region Trainer Amanda.

We had received news from them last week and they said Addie is doing very well.
We're making plans to fly to NY in Feb for her graduation. Keep your fingers crossed.

Merry Christmas
Jim Purton
Immediate Past President


LOVF Humanitarian Award to Lion Jim Purton


Lion Jim Purton, President of LPCCI, was recently presented the Lions of Virginia Distinguished Humanitarian Award by his club, the Greater Falls Run Lions Club.
The award was given in recognition of the work Purton does to raise awareness about Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence, as well as his work with his wife, Lion Michele Purton, as a puppy raiser. Jim & Michele are finishing their eighth Canine Companions for Independence puppy, Addie IV, who will matriculate in August at the CCI Northeast Regional Miller Family Campus in Medford, NY.

Lion Jim has been active with LPCCI since 2005 when he became a Charter Member of his club. He began as a trustee in his home District 24-A.
Shortly after that he became Area Director for Virginia, a position he continues to hold.
As the award was presented to Lion Jim at the annual installation of officers meeting, he was very much moved and pretty well speechless, something that seldom happens to him, he admits.
He expresses his deep appreciation for the award and shares the credit with his wife.

Pictured are Greater Falls Run Lions President Lion Bill York, Lion Woody Woodard, PDG, Lion Jim Purton and Lion Michele Purton holding 11 week old CCI puppy Kappa. (June 23 2015)


 Lions of Virginia Foundation Distinguished Humanitarian Award to Lion Jim Purton.

Buddy Hayes 2015 wheelchair games

Buddy Hayes 2015 wheelchair games

Canine Companions for Independence graduate and LPCCI New Mexico trustee Lion Buddy Hayes recently competed in the annual Wheelchair Veterans Games in Dallas, TX.
Once again, she was successful, as in past years. This year she brought home five gold medals, four of which were for swimming and one for wheelchair slalom. Way to go Buddy!
Of course, she had her trusty service dog, Andy by her side, giving her the appropriate doggy cheer whenever needed.

Volunteer of the Month

Canine Companions for Independence recognizes two of Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence's (LPCCI) members as exceptional volunteers for the months, May and June!
Cris Gerard is 1st Vice President for LPCCI and 6 time puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence
Don Allen is an Area Director and Past President for LPCCI and 4 time puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence.
Thank you for all you do to support both LPCCI and Canine Companions for Independence!

June Volunteer of the Month - Don Allen


Volunteers often say: "I came for the dogs, but stayed for the people." This could be volunteer extraordinaire Don Allen's motto.Don was first introduced to Canine Companions in 1995 through the Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence. In 2009 Don was elected as the president for the Lions Project. Not long afterwards, he started raising his first puppy for Canine Companions. He is currently raising his fourth.

Don is on the leadership team for the Gold Rush Chapter and travels 160-miles round trip to chapter activities and puppy classes. Don and his wife Patty support Canine Companions as Miracle Makers and Heritage Society members. Don recently put us in contact with his neighbor who sits on a foundation board. Because of that introduction, Canine Companions received a first time grant for $15,000! Dedication and support like Don's that enables Canine Companions to continue to help change lives! Thank you Don!


May Volunteer of the Month - Cris Gerard


Cris Gerard's story started in 1999 when the bank she was working for was looking for a non-profit to support and chose Canine Companions. Cris has since co-raised six puppies and started two for the Folsom Womens Facility. It doesnt stop there! Cris was a committee member for the first DogFest Sacramento event last year, and this year she has taken on the role as the Gold Rush Chapter president leading an outstanding group of Canine Companions supporters.

Cris is also the incoming president of the national Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence, a group that consists of Lions Clubs in 35 states who provide awareness and funds for Canine Companions. Thank you Cris for giving so much, and always with a smile! We are lucky to have you!