Service dogs for people with disabilities come to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The Kansas City chapter of Canine Companions for Independence paid a visit to the General Federation of Women's Clubs Tuesday to showcase four dogs it is currently raising to help people with disabilities.

Ada, Arden, August and Slugger sat patiently beside their owners, known as puppy raisers, as they were introduced to the crowd of almost 50 women.

The chapter's website says: "Canine Companions for Independence 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."

But for one puppy raiser this is more than just training a dog. 

Donna Devier from Rocheport, said, "It is so worth it!"

Devier is currently training Ada, her third service dog. 

She said, "People always ask me, 'How could you do this? How could you raise this dog for a year and a half and then give it away?'''

It's all about the results, she said."To see the people that actually get these dogs and how appreciative they are and what all the dog does for them, its good."

Veteran puppy raisers Linda Charles and Debbie Sloan agreed with Devier. They said watching the dog they've loved for over a year walk off with an individual who needs them is very rewarding.

After each of the dogs undergo a year and a half of training with their owners they attend six months of sophisticated professional training in Ohio. If the dogs meet the service dog or skilled companion criteria they then graduate and get paired with an individual in need. 

These fully trained dogs are worth more than $50,000 dollars, but thanks to donations by groups such as the women's clubs, they are given to individuals in need for free. 

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