Canine companions travel to Billerica via Bedford

The Canine Companions puppy plane landed safely on Laurence G. Hanscom Field in Bedford and handed over five of its most recent service dog training to local volunteers, including a daycare owner from Billerica.

Canine Companions provides trained assistance dogs for children, adults and veterans with disabilities.

The puppies delivered to Bedford came from a training center in California near the town of Hayward.

The group is a non-profit, completely voluntary organization.

Following:Canine Companions Facebook Account

Christy Fajkowski, founder of habitOts daycare in Billerica is a longtime puppy trainer for Canine Companions. She brought Oric, her eighth yellow lab in the organization, on Saturday, October 2, from Hanscom to breed her with Jennie Dapice from Cambridge for the next year and a half.

First volunteering in 2015 after receiving a Christmas card from her dog trainer who was affiliated with a similar group, Fajkowski said she jumped first when she found Companions.

An experienced dog and cat owner and trainer, she knew that a volunteer effort would be worth it.

“I turned to my daughter who was a teenager at the time and told her that she didn’t [this] be awesome, ”Fajkowski said.

Fast forward six years and she adopted one of the puppies that didn’t quite click with the training and passed on six dogs to complete their service credentials and continue helping people across the country.

Fajkowski said having their own pets and daycare has been beneficial for the puppies as it is an easy emergence when it comes to socialization.

“I have become an experienced dog trainer,” she said, but added that if residents are looking to volunteer without having experience in the animal world, it is possible with the guidance of Canine. Companions. “We have a song [at the daycare] that there are dogs in our school and I see aspiring dog trainers in our classroom. “

Puppies on board: fly over America

California pilot Jim Stewart said he and his wife Vikki started volunteering with Canine Companions at the start of the pandemic when commercial airlines stopped carrying dogs due to COVID-19.

Canine Companions volunteer puppy breeders hold their new students close to home after they fly to Laurence G. Hanscom Field in Bedford.

“I got a gift from being on this team,” Jim said. “This was our 13th flight and the first to Hanscom. Ross Aviation was spectacular.”

He said the real victory is knowing that some of these puppies will make their way to support the dogs of veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and long-term health issues. A cause close to his heart.

Joy M. Hosford, Senior Multimedia Journalist, Billerica Minuteman

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