David Gerbasi has recently received his third Canine Companions Assistance Dog. Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a national non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities.
Gerbasi was matched with Fabio, a two-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross that has been trained to respond to over 50 commands. His first CCI assistance dog Quip passed away in 2003 after 11 years of loving service. Ian was David’s loving companion for the next 9 years, and after passing earlier this year, David was matched with Fabio, who is aptly filling the void left by these two remarkable dogs.
Fabio can turn light switches on and off, open and close doors and retrieve dropped objects. However, one of his most important jobs will be to provide constant companionship for Gerbasi.
He and Fabio returned to Manhasset after completing CCI’s recent Team Training Class, an intense, two-week course held at CCI’s Northeast Regional Center in Medford, NY – one of five such centers nationwide. The Northeast Regional Center serves a 13-state area from Maine to Virginia.
Each student who attends Team Training – held at each center four times a year – is paired with a fully trained, working assistance dog, like Fabio, and is taught to work with his/her canine companion. The training course consists of daily lectures, exams, practice and public outings.
David and Fabio are settling into a routine back in Manhasset. Gerbasi’s Mom, Barbara says, “Fabio is a very special dog and we hope to have many wonderful years with him.”
For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, contact the Northeast Regional Center at 1-800-572-BARK or visit us at www.cci.org.