Swetts buy second home to support Canine Companions

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The most advanced technology capable of transforming the lives of people with disabilities has a cold nose and a warm heart.

Do a double take?  So did one of Canine Companions for Independence's largest contributors, a businessman from Seattle, Wash., who, with total commitment from his family, turned his life upside down in order to participate in one of the most worthy causes he’d ever seen.

Santa Rosa’s Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the largest assistance dog organization in the country, has received passionate support from several local businesses, families and individuals.  But to have a guy from the great Northwest shop for a second home in Sonoma County, expressly so his family can qualify as dog breeders for CCI ... that’s passion.

Enter Kevin and Cindy Swett of Kent, Wash., and CCI dog, Lilly.

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Once they experienced the process of raising Lilly, a dog they describe as self-possessed and independent, the Swetts decided to become part of the extended CCI family.  They’re now raising Balia, a “social butterfly,” and applying to become breeders for CCI.  Hence, the phone calls to Beth Urban-Purtell of Frank Howard Allen, to see properties.

The Swetts' company KSC Freight is a “Best In Show” Sponsor for the Sept. 20 Bone Appetit: A Celebration of Great Pairings fundraising gala, and they're urging other businesses and individuals to give from their hearts to this worthy local organization.

CCI, situated on the 12-acre Jean and Charles Schulz Campus at 2965 Dutton Ave. in Santa Rosa, breeds world-class dogs who enable greater independence, self-esteem and new possibilities for their human partners.

Amazingly, CCI assistance dogs are provided at no cost to their human partners. CCI also trains the individuals who eventually graduate and become partnered their own assistance dog.

In 2008, Canine Companions graduated 206 dogs with their new owners.

CCI needs community support this year to keep these programs going on a national and local level.

The Bone Appetit Gala features food and wine pairing from celebrity chefs and local wineries, including Mateo Granados, LaGare French Restaurant, Sam’s For Play Cafe, Companion Estates, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Moondance Cellars, Cru Vin and more.

There will also be live and silent auctions, with items like a Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Training Experience, a VIP tour of Sony Pictures in Hollywood and entrance to the 134th Westminster Kennel Club’s “All Breed Dog Show” at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Tickets are $75 for one and $125 per pair.

To secure your own tickets to the Sept. 20 Bone Appetit, please call 707-577-1756. To order online, please visit www.cci.org/boneappetit.


Sofia Dumitru is co-chair for the CCI Bone Appetit publicity committee and is an account executive with Wine Country Radio in Sonoma County.