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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

92 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family lives were changed the day we started puppy raising for Can Do Canines. We thought we would try to help raise a puppy that would go on and make a huge difference in the life of someone in need and 8 dogs later we can say the joy and laughter these puppies have brought into our lives and the feeling of accomplishment is just the start of the pride we feel.
These four legged friends can go out and be the difference for so many families and knowing we have a little part in the process is amazing. The staff at Can Do Canines are the best people a company could ask for. I love being a part of this organization.

jproell72

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to this wonderful non profit Volunteer opportunity this summer, by friends who donate their time. I wanted to do some volunteer work, AND I have also fostered dogs in need before for other organizations. THIS organization is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to get involved, on many different levels. This is a truly Pay It Forward volunteer experience! All the work with the dogs, the trainers, the finding volunteers...goes forward to matching an Assistance Dog with a needing client. What could be better satisfaction for your efforts! Loved my first time volunteer for three months raising a puppy to go on to be his best for someone...Look them up, Volunteer, Do It!

Kathy G.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been volunteering at Can-Do-Canines for more than 15 years. We have puppy raised 10 dogs, 7 have graduated, we have fostered many, worked the Ren.Fest. pet gates, manned many a booth and met some AWESOME people. The rewards that the clients receive is not only the dog but their freedom! So many lives have bern changed through this organization, they are truely Wonderful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This place is amazing! I am so impressed with the care for the dogs, the volunteers, the clients and all that goes in to the mission. I have been a foster home volunteer for a year now and as much as I love the dogs, I love the people just as much. Great cause!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely love this organization and love fostering the dogs. I'm proud to take the dogs out i the community and share their story with people I encounter.

Len H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am privileged to say that I and my family has been blessed with one of Can Do Canines dogs, a true superhero.
My girl, Rogue is a Diabetic Alert Dog. What she does is alert me inadvance of a hypoglycemic incident. I no longer feel the warning from my body, haven't for years. This means she keeps a visit from the EMT's at bay.
One of the truly amazing thing about Can Do Canines is their staff. Without whom these life changing dogs would not be possible.
They are always there for a client, with an encouraging word or a bit of advice to help ensure the success of a team.
No questions asked, they also remember us, no little feat, considering the numbers of people helped by Can Do Canined says alot.
Rogue has removed a good portion of the fear, concern and helpessness that are things commonly felt by every diabetics family, that alone is life changing!
Rogue is a life saver, on an on going basis, she keeps me out of the danger zone, the area below a Blood Sugar reading of 70. It is not uncommon for a person to have readings below 40. For me that is no longer a area I experience.
That's what makes Rogue a true superhero for me and my family.
When you think about it everyone, has an innate desire to touch a life, to improve someones life in a positive way.
This organization does this multiple times a day, in a number of different areas.
For those looking for the opportunity to help others in a significant way, to significantly change someones life, you would be hard pressed to find a better place to focus your efforts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CDC is fantastic! I have volunteered as a puppy raiser, foster and great start and am amazed at the grace and goodwill with which this organization operates. Everyone involved works for the same goal of training these dogs to be assistance dogs and pitches in to do whatever to help out. The staff is great and this is a well organized for those of us who like that. As a volunteer your time and effort is valued. There is just no down side here. Love ❤️ CDC. This is Miss Tikky, showing off her ‘leave it’.

Madison S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a client for this incredible organization, and I'll do my best to really sum up how wonderful Can Do Canines really is.

I'm a Type 1 Diabetic that was diagnosed at age 19. After managing my diabetes on my own for several years, I wanted to live alone and truly be independent. Because of my low blood sugars and more frequent hyperglycemia unawareness, my family was concerned and warned me against living independently. I looked for alternate options, and my father saw a news segment about Can Do Canines on a local station.

After looking them up, I applied and eagerly waited to hear. I got an interview over the phone, an in home interview, and days later I was placed with my diabetic alert dog (DAD) Willy. This is a pretty quick turnaround, but Willy had just come back from training and was ready to be homed.

We started training a few weeks later, and I ran into issues with my work not willing to accommodate. Can Do Canines was with me every step of the way, and supported me until they changed their minds.

Later that year, before graduation, Willy had alerted several times to dangerous crashes and low blood sugars. One night, after I over-corrected for a meal and went to bed, Willy saved my life by repeatedly alerting me until I woke up and checked. He even stayed up with me while I corrected my dangerous low, and only went to bed when he knew I was safe.

If Willy wasn't there that night, I may never have woken up. Can Do Canines has not only provided me and my family peace of mind, but they gave me a medical tool I never knew I needed. They continue to check in and be a system of support even almost two years after placing Willy. I know I can count on them, even after all their hard work is technically over.

I would give Can Do Canines a million stars if I could. I only hope that they will live on forever so others can feel the same way I do.

Kelly Carlson K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our little boy received his best friend on June 1st. Her name is Georgie and she is a 2 year old Golden Retriever/labrador mix autism assistance dog. We had absolutely no idea of the impact Georgie would bring to our lives. Our son isn't drawn to people or things in particular and hasn't shown interest in any sort of pet. We are able to go shopping with our son - something I never thought would be possible. Gone are the days of lifting his 80 pound body into the cart and running out of the store when he's had enough. My son has a belt tethered to her cape and he holds onto the handle while we are out in the community. He remains calm and doesn't run off. She goes with us to doctor appointments and she provides a sense of calm when the anxiety spikes. He can pet his "Georgie girl" and everything will be OK. Our son craves compression and this gal just loves to lay against him and will lay on top of him when he wants to be squished in his bed. Although our son cannot speak we can see the love in his eyes and feel the love he has for her as he is quick to jump off the swing so we can walk his puppy. This organization has given our family a much needed support and our son a friend to count on when his world becomes overwhelming.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Can Do Canines is a great organization. I have volunteered for 6 months and have had the opportunity to already learn so much. I participate in the "Great Start" program for young puppies, teaching them basic obedience and letting them become a part of my family for about 6 weeks. It has been such a rewarding and fun experience, I can't give enough praise about the people who work there and the other volunteers.

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.

1

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!

2 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!