Canine Partners for Life (CPL) trains and places certified service dogs with persons who have physical disabilities, mobility impairments, and seizure and cardiac disorders, to increase their independence and quality of life. By assisting its human partner with many physical tasks and providing constant companionship, a service dog can make the miracle of greater independence possible. CPL provides professionally trained service dogs and lifetime support services. Each dog is trained to meet the specific needs of each individual recipient. CPL places full-service dogs with persons 12 years and older.
For many adult recipients, once paired with a service dog, they are able to enter, remain in, or return to the workforce. Our dogs allow children to enjoy a more integrated school experience. Many of our recipients stay healthier longer or may not need a wheelchair or other aid as early, thanks to the help of their dogs. Since its founding in 1989, CPL has placed over 600 canine partners with individuals who have disabilities or are in other situations of need.
There are several types of dogs that CPL trains; the most common is a full-service dog that is placed with persons with mobility impairments. These dogs provide physical stability, open doors, turn light switches on and off, help their person get dressed and undressed, retrieve telephones, turn the person in bed to prevent bed sores, help them transfer from a bed to a wheelchair, and act as arms and legs to individuals using wheelchairs. We serve persons with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries, arthritis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and many more. CPL is one of only a few organizations in the world that trains and places seizure, cardiac, and diabetes alert dogs. These dogs warn their recipients of oncoming seizure, cardiac, or diabetic activity, giving anywhere from a ten to sixty-minute warning, depending on the particular dog. The dogs are extremely accurate and reliable in their work and enable their human partner to take precautions prior to the onset of a seizure, cardiac or diabetic event, thereby avoiding injuries from a fall or to avoid potentially life-threatening conditions. In addition to providing the alerts to an impending episode, alert dogs can also provide balance and stability to their partners following the incident, can retrieve the telephone or operate a medic line, and assist with many other tasks needed.
CPL also places home companion dogs with children with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, global developmental delays, etc. Home companion dogs are also placed with elderly persons. Similar to home companion dogs, residential companion dogs are placed within residential facilities such as retirement communities in CPL's local area to provide constant pet therapy. Courthouse companion dogs provide comfort to children who are being interviewed or testifying in an anxiety-producing court system.
CPL service dogs are in training for two years. Their first year is spent in a volunteer "puppy home" where they are taught basic obedience and socialization skills. The volunteer puppy raiser may be a member of the community or an inmate at one of our area correctional institutions who participate in our Prison Puppy Raising Program. Community puppy raisers and participants in the prison program attend training classes two times per month to learn and reinforce proper skill development in their pups. For many of the prisoners it's a win-win situation in that they also learn patience, discipline, responsibility, and teamwork-important skills in everyday life, and they also have the opportunity to "give back" to society.
At fourteen months of age the pups, now young adults, move to the CPL kennel to begin their second year of formal training with staff trainers to learn skills as described above. The last stage of each dog's training is three weeks of "team training" with their human partners. Together they learn obedience, canine health care, their legal rights, and take frequent field trips (zoo, mall, movie theater and similar places) to learn to work together in public. Thousands of people each year are oriented to the services provided by Canine Partners for Life, through demonstrations of service dog skills, exhibits and educational presentations.
Audiences range from individuals with disabilities to school age students to senior citizen groups to state and federal employees to health care practitioners and more. CPL is a fully-accredited, voting member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI). During its five-year accreditation survey, CPL was cited for seven "best practices," areas in which CPL is held up as a standard bearer within the international assistance dog industry.
Submitted on behalf of SCCCC Member:
Canine Partners for Life
Phone: (610) 869‑4902
Fall is here and the trees are busy dropping their leaves. What should you do with all of these leaves?
Turn them into fantastic mulch for the springtime!
Fallen leaves are truly the mulch of the natural world and extremely beneficial for your own landscape. Leaf litter in the forest protects soils from erosion; regulates temperature; recycles nutrients back to the trees; retains soil moisture; and provides habitat for arthropods, earthworms, and a plethora of beneficial microorganisms. Rather than ridding your yard of this beneficial product (and then later pay in the spring for wood mulch to be delivered), keep your fallen leaves and develop them into Mother Nature’s mulch.
While ground wood mulch provides all the same benefits as fallen leaves and is most often created from waste wood and brush, removing a perfectly good mulch from your home and then having a different mulch delivered may be an unnecessary effort and expense. If you have the luxury of a space to store leaves, you can reduce your carbon footprint by stockpiling them and using them as a spring mulch. Those leaves that fell from your trees contain essential plant nutrients the trees will need for their next generation of leaves.
For best results turning your fallen leaves into mulch, shred the leaves prior to winter. Shredding can be as simple as chopping the leaves up with a lawnmower or using tools created specifically for this process. While shredding is not necessary, it will lead to a more consistent mulch that is darker in color. After shredding, pile the leaves into a mound and let them sit for the winter. The pile will decompose during the winter months while reducing in size by about 50 percent. As the leaves age through the winter, turn the pile with a pitchfork about once a month to create a more broken-down humus-rich product, sometimes referred to as leaf mold. If you do not have an area to store leaves and must have yard waste picked up by a service, check with your municipality to see if it offers a leaf processing service. Some municipalities process yard waste in large batches with a grinder and offer the finished ground product for free pick-up or delivery.
Here at Longwood, we collect leaves from most of the formal gardens and areas where turf and trees grow together. These leaves are sent to our Soils and Composting Facility, where we process those leaves into mulch using the same steps as described above, but on a much larger scale. Last year we produced more than 1,500 cubic yards of finished leaf mulch.
At our facility, we also take wood waste, brush, green plant material, and food waste from Longwood property and produce wood mulch and nutrient-rich compost. When spring arrives and mulching is in full swing at Longwood, leaf mulch is in high demand by our horticulturists … thanks to its high quality and composition that mimics what Mother Nature creates on her own.
By Matt Taylor, Longwood Gardens