BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -  Canine Companions for Independence – a national non-profit organization providing highly trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities – is proud to announce that Massachusetts resident Bill Lucey has recently received an assistance dog from Canine Companions for Independence. 

​Bill was matched with Izzy III, a two-year-old lab/ golden retriever cross who has been trained to respond to over 40 advanced commands. Izzy 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 Bill.

Much of the thanks for this successful match goes to Canine Companions for Independence volunteer puppy raiser Olivia Plocinski of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (Olivia and her family are 6-time Canine Companions for Independence volunteer puppy raisers).  Olivia raised Izzy from an 8 week old puppy, and said goodbye to him after a year and a half.  Olivia worked tirelessly with Izzy, teaching him basic commands, and the all-important socialization skills.  When he was old enough to begin advanced training, Izzy was returned to the Canine Companions Northeast Regional Headquarters in Medford, New York where he worked for 6 months with the organizations nationally renowned instructors, learning over 40 advanced commands.                       

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Bill and Izzy were matched after completing Canine Companion’s recent Team Training Class, an intense, two-week course held at the organization’s Northeast Regional Center– one of six such centers nationwide. The Northeast RegionalCenter 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 Izzy, and is taught to work with his/her canine companion. The training course consists of daily lectures, exams, practice and public outings.

Bill and Izzy are settling into a routine back home in Massachusetts.  Bill says, “Izzy is a very special dog and I hope to have many wonderful years with him.  I can’t thank Olivia Plocinski and her family enough”.  

ABOUT CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE: Canine Companions for Independence is the largest non-profit provider of trained assistance dogs with six regional training centers across the country. Established in 1975, Canine Companions provides highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities and is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, its training and on-going follow-up services. For more information, visit or call 1-800-572-BARK.