Paws 4 Wine may invoke visions of pooches sipping Pinot, or you taking time to cuddle with furry family members while enjoying your favorite Rosé. Those are appealing possibilities, but neither describes this only-along-the-Wine-Road event.

On Saturday, June 23, the Wine Road wineries are teaming up with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) to raise awareness and funds for a cause that has long been dear to me. But before I tell you my story, let’s explore more about CCI and what Paws 4 Wine on June 23rd will offer those who venture out along the Wine Road.

Paws 4 Wine

 

Dogs That Give Back

Canine Companions for Independence provides assistance dogs free of charge to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. They currently train four types of assistance dogs, and have also started a pilot program using dogs to assist veterans with PTSD.

Here is quick overview of the types of assistance dogs:

  • A service dog assists adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks, like retrieving a ringing cell phone, opening the door, or pulling a wheelchair.

  • The skilled companion enhances the independence of children and adults with physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities.

  • Facility dogs work with clients with special needs in a visitation, education, criminal justice, or health care setting. A dog’s presence can instantly change the energy in a room.

  • Hearing dogs alert their partners, who are deaf or hard of hearing, to important sounds, like a doorbell or phone ringing, a baby crying, or a smoke alarm going off.

It costs $50,000 to train each dog, yet the people who receive these dogs are gifted them. CCI relies on donations and grants to fund their programs. They also rely on an army of volunteers to help them with everything from puppy raising and being a breeder caretaker, to helping out in the office or providing meals during team training, which is the two-week period when a dog and the person who will receive the dog work together.

 

Paws 4 Wine

Paws 4 Wine involves more than 20 wineries along the Wine Road pouring wines, and donating a portion of their proceeds to CCI. View the PDF winery program listing online, which includes what each winery is donating to Canine Companions. You can also view a map of the wineries to help you plan your day filled with paws and wine.

CCI representatives, including dogs and puppies, will be at six of the participating wineries—Holdredge Wines, Hook & Ladder, J. Rickards Winery, Merriam Vineyards, Mutt Lynch Winery, and Papapietro Perry Winery. Learn more about the organization’s mission and volunteer opportunities, meet some of the future four-legged heroes, pet and play with the puppies, and enter a CCI raffle.

 

Anyone Can Help

About 25 years ago, I discovered CCI, and immediately set out to find out how I could help out. At the time, I commuted to a full-time job, so finding extra hours during the weekday wasn’t possible. I learned that CCI has many volunteer opportunities, and signed up to be a CCI dog foster home. After a home inspection and some training classes, my husband and I began to foster dogs of all ages for CCI. In time, I branched out my volunteer time to include helping a few local breeder caretakers after puppies were born, getting donations for the CCI annual fundraisers, baking chocolate chip cookies for team training, and more.

At some point, I lost track of how many CCI dogs we fostered, but I still remember many of them by name. Some only stayed a few days, while others were with us for a few months.

If you love dogs, have time to give, and live near one of the many CCI locations, you might check out their volunteer program. Dog walkers, dog bathers (including puppy bathing), puppy raisers, and breeder caretakers are just a few of the volunteer opportunities. Though I have volunteered time for other non-profits, my work with CCI was always so satisfying.

Volunteer puppy raisers meeting their puppy.

Volunteer puppy raisers meeting their puppy.

 

Mark Your Calendar

Paws 4 Wine, held on Saturday, June 23, is more than an event. It is a focused day for wine lovers, dog lovers, and those who wish to support Canine Companions for Independence to come together and enjoy paws and wine!

Another wonderful resource that gives details about Paws 4 Wine and CCI is a recent Wine Road podcast, where the CCI’s Community Events Coordinator, Katelynn Jessen, is interviewed.

If you love dogs, wine, or both, I hope you’ll venture out and enjoy Paws 4 Wine.

Happy Sipping!

@thewineroad @ccicanine #alongthewineroad #fundraiser

Opening the door

Helping with laundry

Learning to “get” items

Posted by Rebecca Germolus

Rebecca Germolus, co-owner of Maximum Value Marketing, loves Sonoma County and playing along the Wine Road. Rebecca daily immerses herself in wine country by providing cost-effective marketing and writing solutions to wineries and restaurants.

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