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VIDEO: Local Girl Raises $2K for Guide Dogs

The dogs visit Mission Basilica School Thursday to say thanks.

Moved by her cousin’s need for a service dog, a sixth-grader at Mission Basilica School set out to raise money by selling doggie treats this past Christmas.

Racquelle Vellandi’s goal was to raise $300, but she far surpassed that when she ended up netting $1,870. She was about to take the rest out of savings so she could hand over a clean two grand to Canine Angels when her school decided to make up the difference.

On Thursday morning, representatives from Canine Angels – and their dogs – showed up to her school to accept the check and meet the students.

Vellandi said her 7-year-old cousin Griffin, who has epilepsy, autism and cerebral palsy, could really use the dog, which costs $1,000. Now he can get one, and the organization can use the extra $1,000 to help others as well.

Canine Angels is one of the few organizations that places service dogs with children, said Executive Director Kelly Stack.

Not only do the dogs help with day-to-day activities, such as turning on and off lights, fetching water and other items, they also serve as great “social ice-breakers” for the children as they interact with other children, Stack told Mission Basilica School students at an assembly Thursday.

Vellandi, a Ladera Ranch resident, said the dog will also help change the topic of conversation for Griffin from his medical needs to what a great companion he has.

She’ll be cooking up more treats soon, as she has a bigger goal to raise $10,000 in the next 2 ½ years. They’ll be available to a larger audience because Vellendi and her friend and fellow Girl Scout Hanna Cole set up a website from which to expand their reach.

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Kathleen McClemmy February 01, 2013 at 02:28 AM
So lucky to have a great school like this in our community, that embrases the needs of others and fosters the ability for students to develope poise and confidence. A hidden treasure in San Juan!
Guide Dog User February 01, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Incorrect headline. "Canine Angels" is not affiliated with any guide dog providing organization nor do they train any type of guide dog. Please perform at least some sort of rudimentary investigations and gathering of information before printing inaccurate statements.
Jane Hatkow February 03, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Guide Dog Schools never charge for the dog when they partner them with the vision impaired people. They go to those that need them...wanted them is not enough. I believe they must be an independent cane user first. Please check Guidedogs.com. for more information. Canine Angels sounds like a service dog group perhaps? Guide Dog Puppy Raiser
Kerri February 03, 2013 at 06:08 AM
This article pertains to Canine Angels Service Teams. Canine Angels raises, trains and places dogs with children and young adults with special needs. If you would like to learn more about Canine Angels, please visit www.canine-angels.org

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