Schein’s Pupdates: Hello from San Diego

Schein is a Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) puppy, which means he is no ordinary dog.

Through Canine Companions, he is learning to help a child or adult with disabilities increase their independence by being a friend and lending a helping hand paw.

Schein is being raised by Sallie, a volunteer puppy raiser who will care for and train him for 18 months. He’ll then go through Professional Training and ultimately find his “furever home” with a human companion who needs his help.

Read our “Pupdates” every month to learn more about Schein’s adventures!

Do you remember when you were a kid and first asked your parents for a puppy?

They probably responded with, “Well, having a puppy means you’ll have to walk him every day, and feed him, and train him. Can you handle all that responsibility?”

It was hard to picture anything but fun with a puppy then, but as an adult you might now side with your parents. It’s a lot of responsibility to take care of a puppy, especially an assistance dog in training…

But it’s definitely a lot of fun.

To anyone who is considering raising a CCI dog, don’t be afraid that you’ll be grounded or trapped by your new responsibilities.

In February, Schein flew with us to San Diego for vacation.

He is old enough to handle the flight now, as long as we’re prepared.

To prepare him for the long flight, he had to skip breakfast and could only have a little bit of water until we landed on the other side of the country. I took a roll of paper towels, cleansing wipes, clean-up bags, a bowl for water, and a blanket for him to lay on in the plane so he’s comfy. We studied the airport maps for “Pet Relief Areas” so we’d know where to take him to “hurry” on our layover in Denver. He did not like that little fowl-smelling room and would not use it. He just had to hold it until we landed in California where I rushed him outside ASAP. Whew, he made it!

He was a little apprehensive to enter the cabin of the plane because he could see the gap between the jetway and the cabin; it appeared to be dangerously wide to him. Once I coaxed him on board, he settled at our feet and slept most of the flight. Landing made him nervous with all of the sudden noises and the jolt of our touchdown, but he definitely earned his wings.

It is certainly more complicated to travel with a CCI puppy, but as long as you think ahead, prepare, and know what your puppy can handle, it can be done!

Having a CCI puppy travel along with us on vacation does somewhat limit us in what we can do. We can’t take him to the zoo, amusement parks, long boat rides, or spaces where it’s loud or crowded. However, there are plenty of other places to go, such as museums, monuments, and aquariums, so we stayed plenty busy.


He is the first CCI puppy we've trained that loves to swim. Watch out Michael Phelps!


It has been so fun to watch him see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, taste the water, and see the surprise on his face when he finds it to be very salty.

It is very much like taking a young child along with us. We get to see the world through his eyes as he explores something new — everything for us is new again, too.





We took him to the Veterans Museum where he worked on “wait,” “up,” and many other commands. We also reminded him of “no” when he wanted to jump into that fountain and swim.

We met two Vietnam Vets here who told us all about their service experience in the Vietnam War. One has a dog name Sacha; he takes her everywhere he goes and Schein fell in love with her.




At historic Balboa Park in San Diego, we saw so many different dogs while sightseeing that Schein did not garner a ton of attention.

However, when we went to a museum, a mother and her young daughter from China approached us to ask if they could learn about service dogs. Her five-year-old daughter had many questions about Schein; she would ask her mother in Chinese, then her mother would translate for us and vice versa. This young mother told us that her daughter is usually terrified of dogs and that, in China, service dogs are not welcomed many places.

We were so happy to meet and teach them about dogs like Schein!





We took Schein with us everywhere we went in San Diego. He was very enthusiastic about the ocean, watching people swim in the pool, and even meeting a local newscaster, Heather Lake. Fun!

Next, we went to Phoenix. Here, Schein joined us on a mountain hike to a watering hole. He loves water of any kind and walked right in to see if he could swim there. He could have but it was super cold.


Every day, Schein had something new to see and do. All of the different textures — rocks, dirt, sand — to walk and “hurry” on kept things interesting for us and Schein while we practiced commands. Throughout our time together, he has been very adaptable to new surroundings and is always willing to cooperate even when things feel unfamiliar.

Have you traveled with your dog before? If you have any canine travel tips, we’d love to hear them. Tell us in the comments!

Sallie and Schein
By Sallie Carey, Canine Companions for Independence Volunteer Puppy Raiser in Columbus, OH
Henry Schein, Inc. is a proud partner of Canine Companions for Independence. The company provides puppy raisers with “care packages” filled with supplies to help raise puppies during their first 18 months and works with many of the puppies’ veterinarians. Learn more about the partnership here.



You might also like…

Schein’s Pupdates: Becoming a Canine Companions for Independence Assistant Dog

Schein’s Pupdates: Friendly Faces 

Schein’s Pupdates: New Year Reflections