Mental Health Partners Receives Assistance Dog to Provide Support to Clients

With a Wagging Tail, Facility Dog Fievel is Happy to Help

OCEANSIDE, CA – Mental Health Partners Director of Trauma Services Janine D’Anniballe and Bilingual Victim Advocate Martha Hawkinson recently graduated from two weeks of training and received their first facility dog from Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that breeds, raises and trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities.

Facility dogs are expertly-trained assistance dogs partnered with a facilitator working in a health care, visitation or education setting. Janine and Martha work at Mental Health Partners in Boulder, Colorado, and they provide trauma treatment to children and adults. They were recently matched with Fievel, a two-year-old yellow Labrador/Golden Retriever cross.

Fievel has been professionally trained in over 40 commands. In addition to performing physical tasks, Fievel will offer emotional support to the clients at Mental Health Partners. One of the most valued qualities of a facility dog is the unconditional love and attention it gives to the people with whom it interacts.

Janine and Martha graduated with Facility Dog Fievel after completing an intense, residential, two-week Team Training course at Canine Companions’ Southwest Regional Center in Oceanside, CA. During Team Training, students are strategically matched with assistance dogs and learn how to work with them safely and effectively. Though costs to breed, raise, train an assistance dog and provide ongoing support to the team are estimated at $50,000, Canine Companions assistance dogs are provided free of charge to recipients.

Janine and Martha are thrilled to have Fievel by their side. “Fievel will make our clients, who are often in distress and seeking support, feel welcomed and safe in our facility,” said Martha. Janine added, “I think Fievel will have a way of creating that welcoming environment and saying this is a safe place and a good place, beyond how we could possibly do that.” Janine, Martha and Fievel make the perfect team!

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About Canine Companions for Independence

Established in 1975, Canine Companions has six training centers across the country, including two in California, one in Florida, Ohio, New York and Texas. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. Although the price to raise, train and provide ongoing support for our dogs is estimated at $50,000, we provide our assistance dogs free of charge to recipients. For more information, call 1-800-572-BARK or visit