Forget that morning “wake-up” coffee. The Rees-Jones Foundation is providing the perfect way to start the day for a second day in a row! It’s been revealed that the Foundation has provided a $2M-grant for the creation of the Canine Companions for Independence at Baylor, Scott & White Health Kinkeade Campus in partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health. With the help of philanthropy, Baylor will take care of the $9M costs of building and maintaining the facility, while Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) will be responsible for the day-in-day-out management.
Considered the country’s leading source of service dogs, the CCI started back in 1975 and thanks to Jean Schulz and her late husband/cartoonist Charles “Papa of Snoopy” Schulz, it has flourished bringing together “exceptional dogs with exceptional people.” The program is an intense…no, make that extremely intense program for both canines and humans. But the results literally change the lives of men and women, both physically and emotionally.
With Jan Rees-Jones seated at a table, the packed room of community leaders and philanthropists at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board luncheon Tuesday had no idea the announcement was going to be made. Instead they were prepared to learn about this remarkable, life-changing program that would serve as the CCI South Central Region encompassing all of Texas.
Designed by T Howard and Associates, the center will provide the ideal facilities for the training of specially bred dogs like Rue and preparing the human/canine teams for their lives together. It will have 24 kennels and between six and eight dormitory rooms that are especially designed for humans with cognitive and physical challenges. According to CCI, the ultimate goal is to graduate 60 teams a year.
While some folks may think 60 doesn’t seem like a huge number, realize that last year CCI produced 289 partnerships. The next largest provider of service animals resulted in around 50 teams last year.
To show its appreciation for the Rees-Jones Foundation’s gift, Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson announced that the center would be called The Jan Rees-Jones Canine Center.
Located in Irving and slated to open this summer, the center is the first partnership between CCI and a health care institution.
Thanks to the Rees-Jones Foundation, the Baylor Scott & White folks and other philanthropists, this landmark could be just the beginning of future CCI/healthcare groups working together for the betterment and wellbeing of people in need.
More deets will follow in the days ahead, but did want you to start your day off with great news. If you want to know firsthand how CCI has made a life-changing difference in the lives of disabled humans, watch the video of retired-Staff Sergeant Jason Morgan, who brought tears to the eyes of those present, while his “canine companion” Rue lay by his side. He laughed that she was probably a bit weary hearing his story.
* Graphic provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation