Our Blog

August 21, 2013

ICAN Graduates Their 100th Placement!

Prior to each ICAN Graduation Ceremony, two weeks of Team Training is held at the Indiana Women's Prison. Team Training is when the ICAN handlers and clients are brought together by the dogs. As the handlers share their knowledge of each dog with the clients, friendships and memories are made that will last a lifetime. For the ICAN handlers, Team Training is an ending. The dogs they have worked with are now ready to enter the working world with their new partners. For the ICAN clients, Team Training is the beginning of a wonderful partnership. In the months and years to come, ICAN will continue to provide training and support to our new working teams, but for now, they are off to a great start.

Team Training is an exhausting and yet vitalizing experience. Watching two years of hard work result in a new service dog team is something truly beyond words. It is one of the best examples of how ICAN is unleashing abilities and changing lives on both ends of the leash.

ICAN had a special reason to celebrate at June's Graduation Ceremony. We graduated our 100th placement! Festus, a Red Fox Labrador Retriever, was placed with Nick, a combat injured veteran. In addition to balance and mobility assistance, Festus learned several behaviors that will help Nick with the symptoms of PTSD.

In all, seven amazing and talented dogs graduated in a ceremony at the Indiana Women's Prison. In addition to Festus, June's graduates included Tony, Smitty, Gracie, Makenna, Maude, and Lark. 

photos by Ed Stewart

Cheryl and Tony

Chris and Smitty

Alex and Maude
with Handler Sonya

Barb and Gracie
with Handler Shauna

Nick and Festus

Rachael and McKenna

Linda and Lark

Tony will provide Facility Assistance to Cheryl who works as a Prosecuting Attorney in northern Indiana; Lark will provide Facility Assistance to Linda, who works as a occupational therapist at Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana; Gracie will help detect low blood sugars as a Diabetic Alert Dog for Barb and will also provide her mobility assistance; Smitty will provide mobility assistance to Chris; and Maude and McKenna will provide Autism Assistance to Alexander and Rachel.

A special congratulations also goes to the following ICAN Handlers at IWP who completed 3,600 hours of training to receive their Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship as Animal Trainer from the United States Department of Labor.  Congratulations Lara, Nanette, Talia, Krista, Betsy, Shauna and Heather!


Team Training Volunteers
ICAN Handlers at Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton
ICAN Handlers at Indiana Women's Prison
Becky Andrade
Maureen Kiley
Melissa McCoy
Linda Johnson
Amanda Hessel
Pat Clark
Jennifer Boyle Warner
Mary Hardin
Cyndy Burnett
Bev McNeely
Sandy Burnett
David Brimm
Steve Jones
Peggy Jones
Mike Grindstaff
Jan Platz
Eve Hitchings
Jillian Miller
Jennifer McVey
Tammy Foloran
Barbara Shortle
Beth Edwards
Jean Blackwell
Sharon Miller
Michelle J.

Assistant Dogs International Trainers
Marilyn Lazarus, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, Sylvania, OH
Linda Ball, Executive Director of PawPads – Positive Perspective Assistance Dogs, Minneapolis, MN
Bar Calhoon, Paws with A Cause, Colorado

Jamie Young
Project to Heal – Charlie Petrizzo
Gloria Lane Doodle Darlings – Kristin Phillips
Cedar Hill Labradoodles – Theresa Escue

ICAN Dog Sponsors
John and Diane Render
Cyndy and Scott Burnett
Virginia Neff
Pam Hruby
Brian Smith
Colin Maiorano

ICAN Graduation Greeters
Shirl Henderson
Sandy Burnett
Maureen Kiley
Peggy Jones
Steve Jones
Mary Hardin
Wendy Wright
Mary Matthews

Liz Kaye
Ed Stewart
Thomas Lewey, Assistant

Thank you for your generous contribution to our Team Training Lunches, Sound/Stage and Graduation Supplies! 
Norman Swift
Maureen Kiley
Virginia Neff
Shawn Curran
The Shryock Family
Steve and Peggy Jones
Jennifer Boyle Warner
Patti Cripe and Family
Jerilynn Watkins
Patricia Rumbaugh
Caroline Martinez
Carol Trice
John and Diane Render
Sandi Holubik
Joseph Winkle & Staff
Bobbie Buckles
Don and Robin Campbell
Patricia and Frank Hart
Mary Lee Koppelman
Barbara Bougher
Jason Alexander
Avon Chilpolte
Clarion Waterfront
Catherine Gibbs
Papa Murphy Pizza
Sam's Club
Texas Roadhouse

A special thanks to Commissioner Bruce Lemmons and Public Relations Officer, Doug Garrison, of the Indiana Department of Corrections, Superintendent Steve McCauley of Indiana Women's Prison (IWP), Carol Foster, Program Coordinator at IWP, Lora Schmalfeldt of IWP, Tammy Atwood, Community Outreach Program at IWP, the entire staff of Correctional Industrial Facility, Indiana Women's Prison and Pendleton Reformatory Prison, and most of all, to our ICAN Handlers.  Also, a big thanks to the women of the Community Outreach Program at Indiana's Women Prison for hand crafting the dog bed and gifts for our clients. This program serves the homeless, disabled, elderly and children by making mosquito nets, sleeping bags, toys, clothing and other necessities in Indiana, Ecuador, Honduras, Kenya and South Africa.