CLEARWATER, FLA. — Canine Companions transported five puppies from California to Clearwater Tuesday. The non-profit organization helps train service dogs.
"They're learning those special skills which are opening and closing doors and drawers, picking up dropped items," said Caitlin Bradley, Southeast Region Volunteer Coordinator with Canine Companions.
After about a six-hour plane ride, the puppies arrived in Clearwater on a private plane. The eight-week-old puppies were placed with a volunteer puppy raiser like Chloe Werner.
She will teach her dog, Houston, basic commands like stay, fetch and sit.
"They're with us for about a year and a half and the entire time we're training them and socializing them and then they go off to professional training where they learn even more before they become service dogs," said Chloe Werner, a puppy raiser, and UCF student.
After basic and professional training, the dogs are placed with adults, children, and veterans with disabilities.
Werner said she was overwhelmed with love when the puppies arrived.
"Seeing her being pulled out of the plane, my heart just melted. She was so tiny and so sweet and I'm just so excited for our journey together," said Werner.
When the dogs turn about 2-years-old, the non-profit places them with their forever person. These dogs may provide freedom or independence to a person with a disability.
Kaylea Rotkewicz, a volunteer puppy trainer, said she is prepared to give away her puppy after training.
"I don't ever feel sad anymore because I just feel so happy not only did I get to enjoy a puppy and raise it, but also I got to help out another one of my human kind," said Kaylea Rotkewicz, a volunteer puppy trainer.
For more information on Canine Companions check out their website here.