Launching the Margaret O’Brien Children’s Initiative with Canine Companions for Independence

Dogs have always been known as man’s best friend, but at a recent Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) event, it became clear that dogs are a child’s best friend as well.

TogoRun first met CCI in the spring of 2009 as we were about to celebrate our first anniversary as an agency.  We saw our own values – Knowledge, Fidelity, and Endurance – reflected in the qualities that CCI service dogs provide their human companions and we have supported CCI pro bono ever since.

On Thursday, December 9th at the Forbes Galleries in New York City, CCI launched the Margaret O’Brien Children’s Initiative.  This program is a partnership between CCI and Margaret O’Brien, Academy Award winner and film legend, to raise funds to benefit physically challenged children in need of a CCI assistance dog.  The money raised through the Margaret O’Brien Children’s Initiative will help provide service dogs to the 39 children currently on the waiting list in the Northeast region.

These exceptional dogs, which cost $50,000 from training to placement, become a child’s confidant and trusted companion.  These dogs are able to perform tasks such as retrieving fallen objects, turning light switches on/off and opening doors.

At the event, Hollywood icons Randal Malone, Shirley Knight and Celeste Holm were in attendance to support CCI and Ms. O’Brien.

Also, a very special guest was present, 14-year old Johanna, who has undergone 76 surgeries for a congenital brain condition, brought her canine companion, Taffy.  Johanna relies on Taffy for daily assistance and sees her as a best friend.

The TogoRun team included Neil Hochman, Anne Lucke and Alana Rockland, who pitched in with media support and garnered placements in the New York Daily News and People Magazine’s People Pets website. Both features raised awareness about this amazing organization and its current needs.

Click here for the New York Daily News story.

Click here for the People Pets story.

To make a donation to Canine Companions for Independence or get more information, visit