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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Remains True to its Commitment to Support
Animal-Related Causes that Change Lives

DANA POINT, Calif. – December 7, 2015 -- For the third year, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is honoring the service and sacrifice made by our nation’s men and women in uniform with a donation to the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence. During the resort’s annual Yappy Howl-iday Celebration, General Manager Bruce Brainerd presented a check for $230,000 to Canine Companions for Independence Executive Director Barbara Barrow.


With a dramatic increase in wounded veterans, the Wounded Veteran Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence provides an opportunity for our veterans to regain their independence through the support of these incredible service animals. To date, Canine Companions has placed 125 assistance dogs with veterans, with 90 active teams that include 37 active teams from the Southwest Region.


“Because of the generosity of so many, we are able to further our mission to raise funds for animal charities that change lives,” said Brainerd. “From our major donors to individuals who purchased tickets and attended The Diamond Ball on Saturday, November 7, we were delighted to welcome everyone together in support of such a deserving organization as the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence. On behalf of The Diamond Ball Committee and the Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, we are sincerely thankful of everyone’s support to make a difference in our community and the lives of our veterans. It means the world to us and all the service men and women participating in the Wounded Veteran Initiative of Canine Companions,” he added.


This year, The Diamond Ball included both a silent and live auction, as well as special recognition of three veterans – Army Major Yancy Baer and Service Dog, Verbena, First Lieutenant Jeffrey Adams and Service Dog, Sharif, and Marine Corporal Justin Crabb and Service Dog, Gnome – who have all been recipients of Canine Companions service dogs through the Wounded Veterans Initiative.


Over the past five years our fundraising efforts through Yappy Hour and The Diamond Ball have resulted in more than $537,000 raised in support of animal-related charities.

About Canine Companions for Independence

Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, Canine Companions for Independence is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. This year, Canine Companions is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Canine Companions growth and success since 1975 has stemmed from working with amazing breeder caretakers, puppy raisers, instructors, volunteers, staff, and, of course, their graduate teams. From their first service dog, Abdul, to honoring their 4,500th placement last year, Canine Companions for Independence is proud to celebrate 40 years of independence. Canine Companions has been enhancing the lives of people with disabilities with its four types of assistance dogs that master more than 40 specialized commands: service dogs, skilled companions, hearing dogs and facility dogs. Canine Companions has trained and placed more than 4,750 assistance dogs with program graduates, including more than 1,200 dogs with children and 130 dogs with wounded military veterans. With the increase in wounded veterans who could benefit from an assistance dog, Canine Companions helps veterans making a new start in putting their life back together from an injury with an assistance dog who can provide the help they need to regain independence. To date, Canine Companions has placed 125 assistance dogs with veterans, with 90 active teams that include 37 active teams from the Southwest Region.