The dream that created Retrieving Independence began more than 5 years ago, when our founder Karen Langer saw a video of service dogs in action. So moved by what she saw, Karen was determined to learn to train these amazing canines to partner with people who would benefit greatly from their service. After a life of loving and training her personal dogs, it was a natural transition.
Already having a Bachelors Degree in Communications from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, Karen sought out the school that would provide the best education to meet the goal of providing skilled assistance dogs. That was the Assistance Dog Institute in Santa Rosa, California, part of Bergin University for Canine Studies, the only accredited University in the world dedicated to canine studies. It was founded by Dr. Bonnie Bergen, the woman who developed the concept of the assistance dog almost 35 years ago and founded Canine Champions for Independence.
Karen graduated from the Institute with a degree in Assistance Dog Science in the spring of 2006. While attending the Institute, she also graduated from the Marin County Humane Society Behavioral Academy, providing her with a broad education in canine behavior and training. Following graduation she attended several sessions learning specialized training techniques from Barbara Miller at Karousel Assistance Dogs in Missoula, Montana.
“Every day is a learning experience. Dogs will teach you so much about life, and what they can’t teach you a person with a disability surely can,” Karen Langer stated.