The puppies are part of a nationwide Canine Companion for Independence operation.

Colorado may have gotten the cutest plane passengers ever this past week. A plane full of puppies from California landed at Centennial Airport the first week in January.

The 8-week-old Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and crosses of the two breeds, from Santa Rosa, were transported thanks to volunteer pilots in order to participate in Canine Companions for Independence training. More puppies were flown to several other states as part of the project. They are flown by volunteers to ensure that assistance dogs are available even as commercial flights are impacted by COVID-19.

"A special delivery of four future service dogs arrived in Denver yesterday! We are so grateful to all the private pilots, volunteers and staff who help coordinate these flights so these adorable puppies can begin their journeys with their volunteer puppy raisers," wrote the Canine Companions for Independence on its Facebook page

Canine Companions for Independence breed, raise, and train dogs to provide free-of-charge assistance to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities, as well as professionals who work in healthcare, visitation, education, and more. The dogs are trained as service dogs, hearing dogs, skilled companions, facility/therapy dogs for those who provide motivation and inspiration for those with special needs, and assistance dogs for veterans with disabling injuries, PTSD, and more. 

The organization has been providing assistance dogs to those in need since 1975. Every assistance dog starts training as a puppy, as will the dogs that recently made their way to Colorado. They will be placed with volunteer puppy raisers who get them started with obedience, socialization, and more importantly, provide a loving home. They will head off to training as they get old enough, and if they work out, they will be given to someone who can use a little extra help and a furry best friend. 

Interested in helping with Canine Companions for Independence? The organization is always looking for potential puppy raisers.

"You can help us unite people with trained assistance dogs in a powerful program that leads to greater independence. You can raise a dog and change a life. Volunteer puppy raising is an incredible way to help children and adults with disabilities live more independent lives," said Canine Companions for Independence.

You can learn more at cci.org.

Let us know in the comments if you're interested in being a puppy raiser.