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Can Do Canines

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Health, Human Services

Mission: Can Do Canines is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. We envision a future in which every person who needs and wants an assistance dog can have one.

Results: More than 600 people with disabilities have received their own fully trained assistance dog, free of charge.

Target demographics: people with disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 50 people with disabilities by pairing them with their own assistance dog.

Geographic areas served: Minnesota and Wisconsin

Programs: Our assistance dogs fetch amazing things. They provide the gifts of freedom, independence, and peace of mind to our clients and their families. These wonderful canines are often adopted from local animal shelters and are specially trained for our clients who live with disabilities that involve mobility challenges, hearing loss or deafness, seizure disorders, autism, or diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness. Dogs, training and supplies are provided to each client free of charge thanks to the work of dedicated volunteers and contributions from generous individuals, corporations, foundations and service groups like the Lions.

Community Stories

82 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My sister received her hearing assistance dog Autumn last year and it has changed her life. Autumn lets her know when someone is at the door, when the timer on the oven goes off, and can alert her during the night when her hearing aides are out that the smoke alarm is going off. Autumn has greatly reduced the worries our parents and I had about her living on her own. We were always afraid that there would be a fire and she would just sleep through it. Can Do Canines is amazing and really helps so many people have wonderful independent lives!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for Can Do Canines for about 20 years. They are a wonderful organization. Very well run and forward thinking. They see a problem or a need and they figure it out. They have tons of opportunities for any level of skill set and also for people with no previous experience. They are always very gracious towards their volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Can Do Canines is 27 year old 501(c)3 nonprofit which raises and trains Assistance (Service) dogs and provides them with personalized training free of charge to people with Type I Diabetes, Mobility Challenges, Hearing Loss, Seizure Disorders, and Childhood Autism. These dogs give our clients and their families freedom, independence, and confidence to go out and be involved in the community. How can we do this?—only with many, many committed volunteers, donors, and supporters.

I'm Pam Streiff, a volunteer from St. Louis Park, MN. I help plan events and lead the Silent Auction at the Fetching Ball Gala. The nice thing about volunteering at Can Do Canines is that I come into contact with so many great people that I would not otherwise meet.

My regular full time job is a Quality Manager at a family owned machine shop which manufactures medical devices. So I'm "doing good in the world." However, there is such a great separation between my work and those who benefit from it. So I wanted to do good in my community, and see the results.

Can Do Canines gives me that opportunity. There are many different ways people can pitch in and help. There are events such as tours showing people the facility and introducing them to the process. Graduations are celebrations where you see dogs transferred from their 'puppy raisers' hands to their final placement with a client. Videos of them showing off their skills are generally part of Graduation. We have fundraising events such as the The Can Do Canines Woofaroo dog walk, fundraising luncheons, and the Gala event, the Fetching Ball.

Volunteers can direct traffic to parking at events, hand out refreshments, write articles for newsletters, support event games for dogs and/or humans, or participate on committees to plan, organize, and realize events. They can walk dogs living at the Can Do Canines facility. They can mow the lawn, or do handy jobs around the office. They can call donors to advise about events. Volunteers can reach out to businesses to find donations and sponsorships. There are important roles for every skill level.

Volunteers can also open their home and lives to raise a puppy, going to obedience classes and events to help mold a small wriggly puppy into a eager and loving assistant for a disabled person. Some puppy volunteers are short term, and others raise a dog for approximately a year and a half. Then the dog goes to "college", and learns final key skills. Staff determine which type of assistance dog skills this dog will most enjoy and succeed at performing. Finally, it is partnered with a person whose temperament and needs match, and they work to learn to be a team and get certified.

I've seen so many stories of successful, life-changing partnerships, and met so many great people helping this mission happen. You think you're volunteering to help others, and end up learning that you're really helping yourself.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Can Do Canines has given me independence and confidence! And, I am so impressed with their program. I had a neurological disorder that left me with balance problems and frequent falls. After breaking my leg in a fall last year I became extremely fearful about getting help if I needed it. Can Do Canines provide me with an assistance dog that not only fetches a phone, or a person to help me, but does many tasks that keep me from having to bend and turn so much. This reduces my fall risk and I haven't fallen since. He opens and closes the frig, gets my cane, carries a bag for me (or mail, or recycle), tugs the walker or a laundry basket to me, gets his leash or food bowl, etc., etc. etc.
The training program for the dogs is impressive; they learn so many skills. Then, the training for the clients gives us all the tools we need to be a successful team. I have been incredibly impressed with all the details they have covered, e.g. even how to travel with your service animal.
We are so lucky to have access to this program here! It is amazing!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Can Do Canines is such an amazing organization! Volunteering is extremely rewarding and has added so much puppy love and excitement into my life! Any questions/concerns I have had have been quickly answered by staff - someone is always there to help! It is humbling to know I am just one small part in these Assistance dogs' journey to greatness!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a fantastic organization to work with! The prison I work for in Wisconsin has a program through Can Do Canines and it has been such a blessing to this institution, the community and the organization. The staff at Can Do Canines are wonderful to work with and are very responsive to any needs or questions we have. I can't say enough good things about this organization as a whole!

Sable R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have Parkinson's disease and many other medical issues. This is what I wrote to my pup on on our second anniversary together, when I was given this miracle, my girl from Can Do Canines. I realize it is written to my pup, but in reality it is a thank you to Can Do Canines.

It is hard to believe that two years ago today I was given a true miracle, you. When I applied for a dog at Can Do Canines never in my greatest dreams did I KNOW you would become my hope, my independence, my confidant, and my reason to get out of bed and try. Learning to live again was tougher than I thought it would be, challenges I never dreamt of. You see Teenie, I did not realize, nor want to acknowledge, I was getting so tired of struggling to simply exist. I was losing my life inch by inch. But with you there by my side, each step of the way, you helped me start all over again. Independence can come as a surprise when you think you are living; I sincerely thought I was doing okay, but in reality was not. I was giving up on just about everything….. Yes, I was doing what was necessary but not much more. I was only surviving the challenges placed before me.

Because of my condition I had lost most of my friends, it is hard to have a friend with a chronic and terminal disease. You become more work than most people honestly want to put into a person. And suddenly there you were, my friend, my confident. You licked away my tears and cheered at my successes. I could even see you roll your eyes at my stupid moments! Your sarcasm makes me laugh; which is one of the greatest gifts you have given me. You have encouraged me to take that next step; to persist, to become much more resilient, to search for the security that I once thought was within myself. You have helped me to rediscover myself. All these gifts, and so many more, I honestly do not believe I could have recaptured without you. Your quiet, unassuming personality was the perfect match for me. You accepted all of my moments, no matter where I was emotionally, mentally and physically and I truly believe that is what helped me to reengage with life.

You have given me an entirely new family, from your puppy raiser, "KC" and her family to other puppies she has raised and their families. You have given me dear friends through FB, some I have met, others I dream of meeting. You have given me a family at Can Do Canines. I wish I had the words to express my gratitude for all of these incredible people. Teenie, you are the axis of my flourishing life.

My dear Teenie to say I am grateful for you is simply not enough. To say that I have become stronger, out of love and necessity, simplifies our relationship. To say thank you for the patience, kindness, silliness, dedication, and ultimately your love, compassion and trust sounds so small in comparison to the fullness you have given me. You have showed me what it is like to leave the limited light of the stars at night and enter the sunshine, to feel alive once more.

Your skills have given me security and let the fear leave my life. You understand my anxiety and have replaced it with genuine love and trust. I may encounter raging rivers and challenges I did not think I could endure; but yet you ensure my safety each day. You remind me that these are only winds and they can bring a lifetime of change. You show me each and every day what the saying, “this is but a moment,” means.
You have, in these two short years, reminded me that life is meant to be lived by and through love….isn’t that what life should be about?

Without Can Do Canines none of this would have been possible. To say thank you seems minute compared to the gifts I have been given from Can Do Canines. This organization has given so much and asks for so little. All they want to do is makes lives independent, safe and ultimately loved by the dogs they put their heart and soul into.

Harold J. F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Can Do Canines changes people's lives, and I love being involved with an organization like that. They provide assistance dogs to people that need them free of charge. And all I have to do to aid in that mission, is the soak up some love from puppies. Sure, I've spent some money and time doing that, but it is well worth it. And the have volunteer opportunities involve donating your time without a financial commitment. The trainers and staff are just phenomenal, and I find it very rewarding being involved with Can Do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been involved with Can Do Canines since 2013 when we began fostering for the CDC Prison Inmate Program. Since that time we have fostered, puppy raised, whelped a litter of future "superstars" and learned to appreciate the depth and value of what CDC offers to its clients. Over the past number of years we have come to realize how important Dogs can be in the lives of humans and the miraculous things they can be trained to do. We have witnessed the impact that each of these dogs have from the moment they enter the program until their ultimate placement. The CDC dogs change so many lives for the better!! We have witnessed inmates turn their lives around, people finding a purpose in life and ultimately seeing persons with disabilities getting their freedom, dignity and lives restored! CDC dogs truly do change the world...one dog at a time!! CDC has high standards and instills strong work ethics in their Service/Assistance Dogs while also being one of the most financially efficient non-profit organizations we have ever supported! Being part of CDC (at any level) provides you with an extended family in which you are treated with so much respect and kindness. CDC has one of the best training programs that focuses on five distinct disciplines of assistance dogs, all managed by an outstanding Team who work "hand in hand" with volunteers to unite together to bring out the best in the dogs, clients and all involved. Without question, CDC makes a difference!!!

Melissa Cohen S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Can-Do-Canines for more than two years now. This is one incredible organization and I am so proud to be involved. I walk/exercise the assistance dogs in final training every week. They are a joy. I also participate by volunteering at fundraising events, such as the "Woofaroo" and the "Fetching Ball" gala.

These canines are the smartest creatures on earth and have been so dutifully, patiently and lovingly trained by such a professional and talented Can-Do-Canines staff. And, the fact that they utilize the talent incarcerated in Minnesota state prisons to help initiate some of the training is such a win-win for both dog and prisoner on so many levels. And, so many volunteers are involved with breeding, whelping, Good Start, puppy training and fostering. THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!!!!

(Please, please, please check out the Can-Do-Canines website for more information.) What an esteem-builder for everyone involved! I love and admire everything Can-Do-Canines does with and for the dogs and clients. Attend a "Tails to Tell" -- the stories will melt your heart, make you cry and laugh. Do NOT hesitate. Check it our RIGHT NOW!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Can Do Canines for the past 3 years. They are an amazing agency to work with. They truly care about their dogs, their volunteers and making the world a better place for those who are in need!

Tiffany62

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have actively volunteered for Can Do Canines for 2 and a half years so far and I can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. The staff truly appreciates our efforts and the end result changes lives. I get to snuggle puppies, learn how to train service dogs, and meet lots of new people...I have made so many new friends. The clients are so grateful to receive their service dog...it is amazing to be a part of that process.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer on multiple capacities for this organization and I can't say enough positive things about this organization! The people involved from the top down passionately care about getting these life changing and life saving service dogs into the hands of those who desperately need them free of charge. It takes a village to do great things and Can Do Canines has one of the most compassionate, generous, and caring village I have ever been a part of.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered for Can Do Canines over several years. The mission is extraordinary and staff and volunteers are excellent. I've seen other assistance animal training organizations who do not use the same sensible and cost-effective methods of sourcing and training dogs. I respect their methodology and keen attention to high quality outcomes for both the client and the dog.

2 Dee_32

Donor

Rating: 5

I am greatly inspired by Can Do Canines and support them whenever possible. Their mission is a simple one - to help those with challenges/disabilities by providing them with an assistance dog - but it's very effective and life-changing. I am always gratified when I read their newsletter "The Howler", and see the difference they are making with people that might be your neighbor. I know when I give, I'm giving to a greater cause; that they are doing excellent work, and that the recipients of these beautiful dogs are breathing a little easier because Can Do Canines exists; there's nothing better really, is there?

Donor

Rating: 5

i became a fan of Can Do Canines through my son and his wife from down in the Cities. What a wonderful organization that truly changes lives of not only the courageous recipients but also the precious loving animals. Keep up the great work! Mary F. Northern Mn

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter and I attended on of the Sat. introduction sessions and you introduced a few of the current recipients with their new assistant dogs and it brought tears to my eyes. We were going to become volunteers but my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer so we have to put those plans on hold for the time being. I think Can Do Canines is a wonderful joyful experience and the volunteers are so giving and caring.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Can Do Canines for the past few years. I am so impressed with the staff dedication and expertise in training these dogs and matching them with people, free of charge, who can benefit so greatly from them. Kudos to my favorite charity!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have contributed to this wonderful organization for many years. It has a dual purpose in helping people achieve independence as well as helping dogs acquire the training they need and find good homes. I feel my donations are well spent on the people and the animals in need and Can Do Canines does such a great job at keeping their administrative costs to a minimum. BRAVO

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Can Do Canines Assistance Dogs is one of the premier assistance dog organizations I have ever encountered. As a nonprofit, they have excelled in training and placing assistance dogs for a variety of needs to clients whose lives are forever changed by having an assistance dog that offers them independence that would have never been possible, even training to assist clients with more than one disability. They are always accessible for assistance to their clients' needs. Over the years, CDCAD has responsibly and slowly moved forward to achieve a training center that is state of the art to expand the number of clients receiving assistance dogs and a welcoming beacon of hope to everyone who comes through their door. I was especially drawn to CDCAD with their program of rescuing potential service dogs from animal control and humane shelters whose owners had seen no value in, allowing them to become loved and priceless to the clients they are placed with.

Kyle33

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Two points:

1) Volunteering with Can Do Canines is like Chicken Soup for the Soul....

I have volunteered with Can Do Canines over the past year as a puppy raiser, long term foster and short term foster. People always say, "Giving back the dog would break my heart - how do you do it?!"

No doubt, it is hard. Tears are shed. Home doesn't feel like home. Things are suddenly quiet....

But the sad tears are far outnumbered by the tears of joy and pride. Seeing your former family member profoundly change a life is like no other feeling. Opening your home and pouring your heart, sweat and tears into a puppy - to better the life of someone you've never met - is the gold standard of selflessness.

2) Can Do Canines is a fantastic organization for young people to get involved with and make a significant impact!

As a younger person, volunteering with Can Do Canines has far exceeded my wildest expectations. I have never felt like a cog in the wheel - but a meaningful player in an important game. Additionally, my discretionary spending is not great enough to make a financial impact, so using my time to directly change lives is quite an amazing feeling.

Over the past year of volunteering with Can Do Canines, I have nothing but fantastic things to say about the organization, their mission, the facilities, the staff and other volunteers.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Can Do Canine for years. their work with dogs and clients alike is exemplary. I feel that my money goes towards training and placement of fabulous dogs who can change people's lives. My husband and I like them so much they are in our will!
Pat and Paul in Bloomington MN