Zionsville Times Sentinel

April 10, 2013

Family has severe case of puppy love

By Matt Werner
Staff Writer

Zionsville — It’s no secret that many kids love puppies, but for one Zionsville family, that love is the family business.

The Cleveland family is raising Gidget, their 15th puppy trained for Canine Companions for Independence, which provides assistance dogs for people with disabilities. Canine Companions was founded in 1975 in Santa Rosa, Calif., and is the largest assistance dog organization in the world, according to the organization’s website.

Linda and her husband Bill started training a puppy for the organization in 1994, shortly after the two were married.

“I had wanted to raise puppies when I was younger,” Linda said. “I’ve just always really liked dogs, and there is a big demand for these types of dogs. I thought that if I could do something to help out raising these dogs, that would just be great.”

Amy Koehler, CCI development associate, said having the Clevelands raise puppies for so long means a lot to the organization.

“It just amazes me that we have them and others that have raised puppies for 15 to 20 years,” she said. “For us, we get to know that these puppies are being taken care of, trained, loved and prepared for their eventual role as service dogs. We couldn’t do what we do without them.”

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.