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    Meghan and Coda
    June 18, 2017 8:05 pm  
    Meghan and Coda

    by Pamela Fitzpatrick

    I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Meghan and her mom Denise about their experiences with Coda,  a service dog for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).

    http://www.sayville.com/banners/Yourdog_appaws.jpgCoda is a yellow lab  who was specially bred to become one of an elite group of dogs who passed  CCI’s training program,  becoming  a service dog. Canine graduates of CCIs program go on to a lifetime of great work as companions for adults or children with disabilities.

    Coda began her life in California, where a volunteer nurtured her along with her mom and siblings until about 8 weeks of age.  A puppy raiser on Long Island stepped up to raise her from that point until she was  about about 18 months old, providing a safe home, with opportunities for socialization, and giving her  lots of love. Then it was off to the training facility in Medford Long Island for some serious training.

    Meghan and her family applied to CCI for a service dog to support Meghan in her daily activities. They were eventually matched with Coda after an extensive application process that included references, home visits, and interviews.  After about a year, the application was approved, and Meghan started the two week “people training ” program before participating in a graduation ceremony with the rest of the human/canine class.  Finally,  Coda went home with Meghan  to Sayville to begin their time together.

    At 55 pounds, Coda is petite for a lab, and just the right size for Meghan.  The bond between Meghan and Coda was  immediately obvious; the well trained, slightly shy dog is attentive and attuned to Meghan’s needs.

    Meghan has some sensory issues, and Coda, a laid back girl, is a natural non barker, which is a perfect fit.  In the morning, Coda wakes Meghan with a gentle lick on her hand to start the day. The two go everywhere together, Meghan participated in Special Olympics, and loves to cheer, often with Coda at her side.

    Coda knows about 25 special commands, including “wait,” “here,” “lets go,” and “up.”  My favorite was “fix” where Coda stops to have a tangled leash fixed!

    Meghan and her family remain active with CCI- Meghan spoke at a recent CCI graduation and remains in touch with her puppy raiser, Tricia.

    It was really heartwarming to see the relationship between Meghan and Coda;  Meghan feeds, brushes and attends to Coda’s needs while, as Meghan said “….Coda takes care of everybody, including me!”

    If you are interested in learning more about the CCI program please visit their site at cci.org

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