Bloomington, IL,
10:41 AM

Puppy Raised by Birds?

State Farm® sponsors Canine Companions for Independence® Assistance Dog

Raising a puppy isn’t easy. They may be cute, but they require lots of attention and are a big responsibility. Imagine putting in the love and commitment to raising a puppy only to give it up 18 months later. State Farm employees Robin and Tony Bird are doing just that…and they couldn’t be happier.

For thousands of people with disabilities, a service dog allows them to live life independently. State Farm is excited to sponsor a service dog through Canine Companions for Independence. The non-profit organization provides professionally trained assistance dogs at no charge. Service animals are highly trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Since 1975, Canine Companions has placed over 6,600 service dogs.

“We’re very happy about our partnership with State Farm and believe it is the perfect opportunity to engage employees around a positive, ‘good neighbor’ cause that can make a transformational difference in the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities,” said Bryan Harding from Canine Companions.

The sponsorship is also providing a unique volunteer opportunity for Robin and Tony. They volunteered and were selected to raise the Canine Companions puppy, sponsored by State Farm.

“We had been looking for some ways to give back, and animal charities are one place where we often gravitate,” said Robin. “With 34 combined years with State Farm, Tony and I are aware of the many ways State Farm gives back. This is such a unique way to give back to the community in a personal and highly impactful way. We couldn't be happier to be selected as puppy raisers.”

A Good Boy

State Farm employees were presented with the chance to name the puppy and while “Jake” may have seemed like a logical name, the puppy wasn’t born in a “J” litter. To help track the hundreds of puppies born into the program, each litter is assigned a letter of the alphabet. The State Farm puppy was born in the “T” litter so the name needed to be short and begin with the same letter.

Tex. Tip. Toast. All are fun and cute names, but this puppy was going to grow up to do good things. It needed a good name because it was part of the Good Neighbor family.

Meet Tavi.

In Hebrew, tavi means “good” and it couldn’t be a better name for him. Tavi is a male Labrador retriever/golden retriever cross and since he is yellow, he is already wearing khakis! Born on Aug. 17, Tavi will leave the nest and meet the Birds in mid-October 2020.

In his first 18 months, the Birds will help Tavi learn basic obedience, social skills and manners. After that, he will move on to professional training with Canine Companions staff where he will learn advanced commands like turning on and off lights and picking up dropped items.


    Giving a Dog a Job

    It is expensive to breed, raise and train each Canine Companions assistance dog. Volunteers and donations are necessary in order to continue providing assistance dogs at no cost to recipients.

    Each year, Canine Companions for Independence hosts DogFest. The dog-friendly event celebrates the human-animal bond and raises money for a great cause. Like most events this year, DogFest has gone virtual. While there will be less fur, the fun won’t stop!

    Join other pet lovers for DogFest Texas on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 11:00 a.m to noon, CDT and help give a dog a job. There are a variety of ways to participate:

    • Register and fundraise to support a great cause. Registration is FREE. All funds go toward training assistance dogs for people in need. You can even form a team to help Canine Companions raise funds!
    • Participate in fun activities on the DogFest Texas Facebook event page. You can even share how your dog brings you joy with this downloadable sign.
    • Make a donation! Your generous support helps give the gift of freedom to people with disabilities. All donations made to Canine Companions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


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