NTX Magazine Volume 9 - Page 8

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT Lavon Lake 75 289 190 190 Canine Companions for Independence Judge Ed Kinkeade knows a thing or two about the power of a canine companion. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade is a trustee for the Baylor Scott & White Health Care System and served as chairman of the board for Baylor Health Care System from 2006 to 2008. As a volunteer, Judge Kinkeade trained his yellow Labrador retriever, Bo, as a pet therapy dog, and together they visited patients with disabilities at various Baylor healthcare facilities throughout North Texas. Bo was a hit. During a volunteer visit, Judge Kinkeade and Bo met a service dog whose range of skills made a lasting impression. Kinkeade encouraged hospital leaders to go beyond the pet therapy program already in place and to partner with the premier assistance dog training program in the country. Canine Companions for Independence was the natural choice. Founded in 1975, Canine Companions is the 6 WWW.NTC-DFW.ORG SUMMER 2018 largest, non-profit training program in the country for persons with a range of disabilities, excluding blindness. Since its founding, Canine Companions has brought together more than 5,000 assistance dog teams. Judge Kinkeade collaborated with Canine Companions and Baylor Scott & White Health to build a $10 million assistance dog training center at Baylor Scott & White Health–Kinkeade Campus in Irving. The nine-acre campus, which opened in 2015, oversees the entire training process from breeding to puppy-raising, graduation to ongoing support, and provides its placement services free of charge. Since the campus opened, the number of Texas-based placements has increased 250 percent. Canine Companions for Independence trains and places three kinds of assistance dogs: service dogs that assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks; skilled companions that enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities; and facility dogs, who work with a professional in a visitation, education, criminal justice or healthcare setting. Baylor Scott & White Health now has two facility dogs working in two of their locations. No matter the placement, Canine Companions always takes a team-building approach. “Matching the right dog with the right person is an important part of the process,” said Judge Kinkeade. “A veteran who has lost a leg, for instance, might need an active and large dog that can carry a prosthesis. A child who is severely disabled with autism might need a dog with a calm disposition. A team is born out of meeting everyone’s needs.” Mikell Bollinger, regional director of advancement for Canine Companions for Independence, credits her organization’s partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health with accelerating their ability to serve more people with disabilities. “As the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas,” said Bollinger, “Baylor Scott & White Health has greatly enhanced our visibility in the state and provided incredible leadership support.” North Lake GARLAND 635 635 75 30 161 183 183 Love Field DALLAS 30 Lake Ray Hubbard 80 635 30 175 35E 45 The ties that bind: 20 67 20