As a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, Freedom Canines International’s (FCI) mission is simple- Pups Empowering People! We raise and train life-saving assistance dogs, partnering them with Texans in need of their specialized skills at no charge. In addition to empowering clients, we have created a training process designed to empower high school students through their involvement in training future assistance dogs. FCI is an integral part of agriculture classes at Wimberley High School, utilizing puppies to engage students in hands-on learning.
In addition, we partner with DAEP (Disciplinary Alternative Education Program.) FCI’s curricula and instruction promotes social and emotional learning through hands-on activities with our pups in training.
Our mission of Pups Empowering People begins before our pups are even born. Through our partnership with Wimberley High School, each milestone for our pups is an educational opportunity. Students in agriculture classes including Small Animal Management, Advanced Animal Science and Veterinary Medical Applications follow and study each process- conception, pregnancy/ gestation, whelping, development and care of newborns until puppies enter the classroom at eight weeks old. During this exciting time, puppies move into the homes of their student puppy raisers.
Student puppy raisers, under the close supervision of FCI Instructors, provide care, training and socialization for approximately one year or until the pup is ready to enter advanced training. In addition to their raiser, puppies provide hands-on learning opportunities for relevant TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for all students in participating classes. This mutually beneficial partnership with Wimberley High School provides unique learning opportunities to students. FCI training methods utilize positive reinforcement based operant conditioning. Students learn to shape and reinforce good behavior. These desirable behaviors can then be used to improve challenging behaviors. The same training methods can be applied to all species- horses, marine mammals and most importantly- humans! As students gain confidence in their training skills, they have opportunities to mentor other students and do public presentations about FCI.
If you are interested in reading more about our roots and founders, visit our History page.