WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A special delivery landed at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport Thursday afternoon — puppies!

Half a dozen puppies flew in from California on a private plane. These puppies are part of the Canine Companions Future Service Dogs Program. They will stay with volunteers for the next year learning basic commands. Once they are 18 months old, they will go to formal training school.

“We get the puppies when they are about 8 to 10 weeks of age, and we train them until they’re about a year and a half. And we teach them all their basic mannerisms. So sit, stay, all those basic commands,” said Katie Cordova, Canine Companions Volunteer Puppy Raiser.

The service dogs will go to people who need them, and they don’t have to pay a dime.

“It’s definitely going to be a bittersweet moment knowing it’s going to go to someone who really needs it,” said Cordova. “It’s really nice. We are a nonprofit organization, so the people who need the dogs actually don’t have to pay for the dogs.”

Canine Companions is a nonprofit organization founded in 1975 that provides service dogs to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. They also pair facility dogs with professionals working in health care, criminal justice, and educational settings. All follow-up services are provided at no cost to clients.

Puppy plane rides are made possible by volunteer pilots. Due to the pandemic, many commercial flights were canceled and getting puppies across the country to their volunteer puppy raisers was challenging. Thanks to a group of volunteer pilots who stepped up to help, Canine Companions Aviation Partners was established.

To learn more about Canine Companions or how you can help, visit their website.