The Best Humanitarian distinction in Napa County couldn’t have gone to a better organization than Canine Guardians, awarded for the second year running no less. This is an organization that’s dedicated to breeding, training and placing service dogs with wounded veterans, veterans with PTSD, diabetics, children with cancer, children with autism and children with reading difficulties. “Our dogs are trained to learn over 90 commands,” said Rochelle Heskett, Founder/Executive Director. “Some are: turning on and off lights, picking up dropped items, opening refrigerator doors, and retrieving bottles of water.” These dogs are literally changing people’s lives. Scratch that, Canine Guardians is changing people’s lives, although Rochelle feels otherwise. “The veterans and the service dogs are really the stars,” she said. “We are just the mediators.” Dogs are trained with the help of local volunteers, aka Puppy Raisers, many of whom are high school students, who socialize the dogs by taking them out into the world for a year to places like work, school, restaurants, etc. They also have a R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) program. “Our dogs visit elementary schools to help children who have reading difficulties,” said Rochelle. “Children find it less intimidating to read to a dog than an adult or other child.” Canine Guardians is always in need of donations and volunteers, and a facility as well. If you can help in any of those areas, please do, and then maybe you’ll become a Humanitarian’s apprentice!
2300 Arthur Street, Napa, CA 94559