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Four Labradors
Canine Companions and Build-A-Bear Logos
Two Labradors playing
Two Labradors snuggling
 

Heartley has been experiencing a lot of “firsts” recently! He went on his first visit to Kansas City, Missouri, stayed in a hotel, and walked around a large outlet mall with lots of shops. He had his first restaurant visit and did very well, listening to the “under” command and staying under the table quietly. Heartley also met two little boys who were so excited to meet the Build-A-Bear puppy. They even voted for his name!

Now that Heartley is 6 months old, there are many new commands he’ll be learning as well as learning to use The Gentle Leader which is a piece of training equipment that's a lot like a halter on a horse. It controls where the dog’s nose goes, and where the nose goes the rest of the body follows! Heartley can still eat, drink, pick up dropped items and even bark with it on.

Heartly
Heartly
Heartly
Heartly

Heartley visited the local farm hardware store and met the tiny mascot pig, chicks and even a bunny! The hardware store welcomes Heartley as he learns manners and how to manage all the different sights and sounds. These outings begin to help him learn how ignore distractions when he’s working.

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is a growing boy at 43 pounds. He still loves snuggling, and he loves to sit on the front lawn and watch the neighborhood children play. Heartley is learning lots of new commands, including how to wait. He patiently waits while his family places his food bowl on the floor and will not move until they give him the “ok” command. Another way they practice waiting is by spelling out words or placing his kibble on his paws and telling him to wait. He does a great job and waits patiently.

The commands he is learning are beginning to get more complex to take him to the next part of his training! Other new commands he is learning are:

  • UNDER: This command tells him to lay down under something such as a chair or table.
  • SPEAK: This command tells him to bark.
  • LAP: This command tells him to put his front legs across your lap, resting on his elbows.
  • STAND: This command tells him to stand on all four feet without walking around.
  • OUT: This command tells him to go ahead through a doorway then turn and face the handler.
  • OFF: This command tells him to get off something or to get out of the car.
Heartly
Heartly

Heartley made a special visit to BearQuarters, Build-A-Bear’s corporate office in St. Louis, MO. Heartley loves teddy bears and was so excited to meet this biggest bear he’s ever seen – Bearemy! They were fast friends and Bearemy helped Heartley make a new furry friend for his collection. All the Bears at BearQuarters loved meeting Heartley and his family and can’t wait for their next visit!

Heartly
Heartly
Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is a sweet puppy and a fast learner! He is learning to walk on different surfaces, such as planks, that teach him to have confidence. We are currently working on several commands, including under, quiet, speak, visit and wait. He responds to the command wait very well because he knows once we say okay, he gets a treat! He is also working hard on learning to be patient and is dreaming of one day becoming a service dog to change someone’s life, just like his big brother, Gambit.

Heartley sleeps all night with his teddy bears, which are still his favorite toys. He is an early riser (5:30 am!) and because he’s still a puppy, if we try to make him wait, he barks because as far as he is concerned it’s breakfast time. He is a very loving, easy-going puppy who loves to please and just such a good boy.

Like Heartley’s teddy bear? Click here to visit our Lil’ Cub Hugs collection!

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is experiencing many new things including different textures, sounds and places. His family often visits an all-ability playground so he can get used to walking on different surfaces, hearing new sounds, and learning to concentrate with many distractions. Heartley loves playing in the water so going to the ability park is hard because they have a water area for children who use wheelchairs. Despite that distraction he sits very patiently and watches as the children play. He is also learning how to enter our wheelchair accessible van using the ramp. He is a very focused puppy who loves to learn and is not fearful of new things which makes training him easy!

Heartly
Heartly
Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is living with a family who has volunteered to raise him for a year and a half and provide him basic obedience training, socialization and care before he moves onto his next phase of professional training. Volunteer puppy raisers play an important role in the training of assistance dogs but are often asked, “How can you give him up?” But, according to Heartley’s family, “We are not ‘giving him up.’ We are giving someone a chance at independence and we are only one part of the training triangle of breeder caretakers, puppy raisers and professional trainers. Although we dearly love Heartley, he hopefully one day will totally change someone’s life by giving them the opportunity to be independent. What a blessing and honor to be a part of this ‘training triangle.’”

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is three months old already! He is learning many new skills and has already mastered 15 commands that he does consistently. He a sweet boy who loves his family, his teddy bears, treats, and snuggling!

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is growing up so quickly and as sweet as can be! Check out this side by side of him with his first Build-A-Bear, at 2.5 weeks and 12 weeks! Love Heartley’s bear? Check out our Lil’ Cub Hugs collection.

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is all pup! He loves the water and sleeps with his bear and stuffed dog. According to his Puppy Raiser, Heartley is very smart but can sometimes be stinker – when he doesn’t want to go for walk he just lays down because he thinks he’s the boss! He’s already mastered several commands and is a very good boy!

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is living in a home with Gambit, a Canine Companions graduate! They are fast friends and, as Heartley continues his training, Gambit will be by his side.

Heartly
Heartly
Heartly
Heartly

Heartley is settled in at his new home and learning quickly! According to his puppy raiser, Heartley has already mastered his name, sit, here, hurry (go potty), kennel, wait, down, going up and down the steps, learning to walk on the leash and wearing his cape. He will soon be old enough to venture out so stay tuned for more of his adventures!

Heartly
Heartly

Heartley loves his new home! According to his puppy raiser, he is a smart pup and a fast learner. He has already mastered going up and down the deck steps and a few other commands!

Heartly
Heartly

He’s tuckered out from his travel but Heartley has made it to his new home near St. Louis, MO! He will live with a family of volunteer puppy raisers who will train him in obedience and basic commands in the first steps on his journey to become a service dog.

Heartly sleeping
Heartly sleeping

Heartley and his brothers and sister gathered for a family photo! Now 8 weeks old, the puppies are all on their way to their new home with their volunteer puppy raisers!

Heartly's New Toy Ball
Heartly's New Toy Ball
Heartly's New Toy Ball
Heartly's New Toy Ball

Heartley 6 weeks old and doing great! Heartley and his siblings love to cuddle with the Canine Companions staff and their mom Betsy.

Heartly

Heartley is one month old and just got his first toy!

Heartly's New Toy Ball
Heartly's New Toy Ball

Say Hello to Heartley!

Thousands of votes later, our Canine Companions for Independence puppy officially has a name!
Thank you for voting!

Heartly

Love Heartley’s teddy bear? Check out our Lil’ Cub Hugs collection!

PUPPY ON BOARD

We’re Raising a Puppy for Canine Companions for Independence!

At Build-A-Bear, our love for furry friends is central to our mission of adding a little more heart to life – which is why we’re thrilled to partner with our friends at Canine Companions for Independence to help raise an assistance dog! Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that provides highly-trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities, opening new opportunities for greater independence and confidence. Assistance dogs often become best friends to their human partners – and Build-A-Bear Foundation is thrilled to join this ongoing mission of providing quality partnerships and forever friendships.

IT'S A...

HELP CHOOSE A NAME FOR OUR PUPPY

Thousands of votes were cast by our Guests and the big reveal is coming soon! You won’t want to miss a single update in our journey with Canine Companions for Independence!

Puppy Paws
Puppies sleeping
Puppy Paws
Dog and Vet looking at Xray image
Dog and Vet looking at Xray image

Pictured here is a Canine Companions dog who is expecting a litter of puppies! One of the furry bundles of joy that she delivers will be placed in a loving home and partnered with a volunteer puppy raiser. From taking the puppy to obedience classes to serving them a healthy diet, volunteer puppy raisers play a pivotal role in uniting people with trained assistance dogs – and you’ll get to be a part of this special four-legged journey too!

We’re so excited to document this Canine Companions partnership for our Guests – many of whom have generously supported Canine Companions for Independence with donations at Build-A-Bear Workshop. We invite all our Guests to join our Canine Companions puppy on the first steps of its journey and watch it train and grow through updates right here and on all our social media channels. One day, they’ll become a Canine Companions for Independence assistance dog for a child, adult or veteran with a disability!

Canine Companions and Build-A-Bear Logos

FOLLOW OUR PUPPY'S JOURNEY

Check back here for more news about our puppy! We’ll be documenting and posting regular updates on our furry bundle of joy.

Two Labradors in a dog bed

Learn More About Canine Companions for Independence

Learn More
Two Labradors in a dog bed

Learn More About Build-A-Bear Foundation

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