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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

17 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!

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!!!

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Where do I even start with this amazing nonprofit that completely changed my daughter's day-to-day living? Can Do Canines literally GAVE Samantha's life back to her.

There are so many amazing ways they've done this. Samantha's mobility assist service dog, Obie, is by her side every minute of every day. He picks things up off of the floor so that she doesn't have to bend down, risking a severe and immediate drop in her blood pressure which causes her to pass out without warning. Before Obie, she knocked out her front teeth and has sustained several concussions. He helps her up or down the stairs, braces himself to assist her when she needs to get up from sitting on the floor, opens doors (he's a real gentleman), brings things to her from another family member, brings her credit card up to the counter to pay a bill, and even delivers laundry downstairs to the laundry room. Now if we could just train him to fold it and put it away. ;0)

Obie can go get help if Samantha needs him to. He can retrieve her phone if asked. He also carries her medical information in his vest pocket in case of an emergency. As a parent, those are three of the most comforting things I could've ever hoped for. I used to worry about her non-stop, to the point that I couldn't focus on anything else. Now I know that Obie has her back, whether that's at college (which she's been able to go back to) or at the grocery store-wherever. They've become an inseparable team!

Can Do Canines not only provided Obie free of charge, but also food and supplies to get started, amazing trainers so that the two of them learned how to work together, lots of client education, and a lifetime of support. If Samantha needs Obie to do a task that he wasn't originally trained for, she can contact Can Do at anytime and they with assist her with training him to perform the new skill.

Last, but far from least, Obie has vastly improved Samantha's emotional health. She feels safe again, able to trust (and even push) her body a bit more knowing that Obie will be there to help when needed. This has resulted in fewer doctor visits and days spent in bed not feeling well. He even motivated her to be active again and go for a walk or to the dog park because she knows he enjoys them so much. She wants to take care of him as well as he takes care of her.

Thank you Can Do Canines for not only changing my daughter's life, but ours as well. You've FAR exceeded any expectations we could've even imagined. I would have never dreamed that a four-legged angel could enter our lives and make such an incredible difference. May you always have the funding to bless others' lives as you've blessed ours!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a child, we have dreams that cannot conceive boundaries. As an adult, we often find that those very dreams are not the reality that we may live. Try as we may, life has its own plan for each of us; moments that can define who we may become. At the time, I was in my early thirties, boundaries began to shape my life. Limitations that had become a daily struggle that ultimately became the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Those boundaries that I could not even conceive as a child had, indeed, become my reality.

A defining moment occurred when I learned about Can Do Canines. I had not even thought of the possibility of a mobility assistance dog, let alone how a four-legged angel could, and would, change my life.

The list of skills that Justeen does daily for me has given me the gift of reengaging in life. The challenges are still there, and always will be, but Justeen makes accomplishing the everyday tasks possible and with less pain. She opens drawers and doors, picks up and retrieves all of the items that my rigid hands drop constantly, carries bags in and out of stores for me, empties my grocery bags, and tugs my laundry basket to where I need it to be. She has given me peace of mind by being able to get the emergency phone when I have needed it. Justeen has become my ambassador in stores; just having her at my side verifies that I do need extra assistance and I no longer have to search for help. This angel has truly given me my life back, simplified my life with her extensive skills, and returned my independence. Justeen has also given my husband peace of mind for when he is not at my side. This sweet, kind, gentle angel has literally become my life-line, partner, and ambassador.

Without an extremely dedicated staff and volunteers none of this could be possible. There are now over 500 partnerships that Can Do Canines has willingly and freely given. I am grateful that I was one of those "furever " teams.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Losing Sandy, my first hearing dog of ten years, was not only heartbreaking, but with her went many normal securities of life that many take for granted. Knowing when the alarm clock is going off, when the phone is ringing, or someone is at the door....knowing when the oven timer is beeping, the teapot is boiling, or if my husband needs me in another room....and being alert to the fire alarm or carbon monoxide alarms blaring, or an intruder are all things I miss. I'm severely hearing impaired, about 80% deaf. Without my hearing aids I can't hear a dog bark.

It took about two years of missing these things before I was ready to give my heart to another "Sandy". My second hearing dog was a gift. An American Eskimo, which I began training when she was 14 weeks old. I am so very thankful that CanDoCanine accepted her to complete her training and be certified through their nonprofit organization. CanDoCanine provided my first hearing dog, so I was fully confident that they would send me off with the needed security and the best obedience for public access.

If you are interested, our story along with a photo is in the fall of 2015 newsletter on CanDoCanine's website. My new hearing dog's name is Shiya. It means "Snow at Dawn". Her white fluffy body gently lays across my chest (with an added lick or two) as she awakes me each morning when she hears the alarm clock. She loves working. I've caught her sitting on the end of my bed just waiting for the alarm to go off!

Through the support of individuals and organizations, CanDoCanine has provided the restored confidence and peace of mind to live daily life at home or elsewhere. Shiya and I are a team now....just like Sandy and I were for all those years. Thank you CanDoCanine, and Dora our trainer. What a blessing these dogs have been.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They are the best!!! I can't imagine my life without my service dog.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have a dog from Can Do Canines.
I expected my dog to do work for me but never did I for a moment realize the change she would make in me.
After having a few falls in public before her I had decided to stay in my home as much as possible and because of the depression that came with my disability I cut off as much outside contact as possible. I even refused to see my own family and spoke to them only on holidays.
Then along came my assistance dog Camille. I wasnt too sure at first about trusting her but after being awaken from a fire starting in my home I had little doubt I could trust her.
With Camilles help we are truly a team and she makes sure I get out of the house everyday and visit with people and she LOVES to see my nephews and even cries in the car as we get closer to seeing them. :)
THANK YOU Can Do Canines and all those involved in bringing Camille into my life she really had saved my life!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My wife received Diabetic Assist dog Hailey several years ago. My wife was at a very critical point in her life because she has had diabetes for nearly 50 years. We were house bound and I could not turn my back on her as she would just pass out in a matter of moments. Sleeping all night without a very low and dangerous blood sugar episode was impossible. Hailey has changed everything. She catches the low blood sugars before they become a problem and has certainly saved my wife's life dozens of times. Please take the time to go to Can-D0-Canines website and check them out. Try and make it to one of their events. I promise it will change your life.

1 Jacinta K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband, Frank, received his mobility assistance dog Diva 2 years ago and she has been a Godsend. I know I can go to work each day and not worry as much because she is there when he needs her. Diva will hop up on my side of the bed after I leave and will stay next to Frank if he didn't sleep that night until he is feeling rested and ready to transfer into his wheelchair.
Can Do Canines is a wonderful agency and is staffed by people who sincerely want to be of service to those that need the love and help from a highly trained dog.

Angie49

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received the most loving, crazy, intelligent, life saver from Can-Do-Canines on 10/03/2013!!! Bubba is a Schipperke that alerts me to dangerously low blood sugars before they become to low to correct on my own or cause me to have a seizure or pass out. He does this all for love and treats. He keeps me safe everyday at work, at home, at hockey games, and everywhere else we go. He had the best training, I hear quite often "I didn't even see your dog". When we are at home is a typical Schipperke, but when we are at work or out in the public he is all business. Can-Do-Canines has been there for me every step of the way, they have made Bubba and I a great team! I can never thank them enough. Can -Do-Canines has done all of this for me for free. The love have for their dogs and their clients is priceless!

Stephanie174

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a client of Can Do Canines for 20 years and during that time had the honor of having 3 hearing assistance dogs. Each dog was well trained and provided me with invaluable service. The staff at Can Do Canines is responsive and sensitive to my needs and the needs of my assistance dogs. I strongly recommend Can Do Canines. Their work with training assistance dogs for people with a wide variety of disabilities is top notch.

Bklingelhofer

Client Served

Rating: 5

Can Do Canines is a fabulous organization! I was blessed and accepted into their program, and received a diabetes assistance dog that has changed my life. I have regained my independence, and am so grateful for their mission. The entire process was so smooth- they are very professional. I especially love the sense of family that the organization fosters for past graduates.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

The work this organization does has changed my life. I was blessed with an assistance dog in January and I have already been able to improve my sugar control and my life. They are professional, so helpful, and they make such a significant difference in their client's lives.

Wanda8

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first applied over 5 years ago, even through today, if I have a question about my mobility assist dog, someone at this agency is helpful in answer it or helping me to find the answer. I've been very happy with this agency from the time they came to my home to do the interview, the information they gave me, letting me know what they expect of me, the training with my dog match, even finding a match with the breed I prerferred. The day of our graduation as a service dog team was so new to me, but very exciting, and a person really needs to attend a gradutation to understand the importance of these dogs to the presonal lives of the individuals who receive them. I've been back for someone else';s graduation, and have the same feelings I had at my graduation. The dog placed with me, Redford, was an excellent match. He continues to demonstrate how smart he is and has changed my world in so many positive ways!

Deb_28

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization helped to change my life - I should not say helped but was the key to the change in the form of Cyrus, my mobility assist dog. Before Cyrus I was very house bound - afraid of going out in public, falling, and not being able to do those little tasks others take for granted. Since Cyrus my world has again opened up and the fear that kept me in the house is gone. The training he received by the puppy-raisers, trainers, volunteers and staff at the Can Do Canines organization was the reason I have the freedom I have today. There is no way I can ever thank them enough

Robert102

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have Multiple Sclerosis and have a desperate need for help doing the daily tasked that "normal" people take for granted. Can Do Canines has stepped forward by providing me with an assistance dog that helps me with these tasks and, as a sheer bonus, is a wonderful addition to my family.

1 Kathy137

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've worked with dogs, professionally, all my working life. It came to the point, because of my MS, that I could no longer do the work I had done for so many years. I was urged to apply with Can Do Canines. By a miracle of God, they accepted me into the program. It took some time but eventually they showed up at my doorstep with a beautiful, fully trained female black lab. I fell in love with her instantly and the love has only grown with each day. The trainers are AWESOME as are the puppy raisers!

"Karma' helps to balance me when I walk and gets me things I drop. She also will get a phone for me when I fall in the house. She's always with me wherever I go. Before Karma, I rarely went out because I was afraid of falling. Now, with the brace she wears I can hold onto her and I no longer fear falling in public.

She's my best buddy and watches me continuously. She loves to curl up with me to watch TV and snuggles with me in bed on cold nights. She also barks very loud and scares off anyone who comes to our door. Unless she knows them! They get a toy picked out and carried to them by Karma:) She loves everyone but I'm okay with her loud ferocious bark!

Karma has opened my world again. She goes to all my medical appointments which are many! They love her there and she makes the appointments more fun while sitting in the waiting room. She's special and makes me feel special. I love her so much! And, she was given to me by Can Do Canines who do not charge for these awesome dogs! Kathy Schroeder and Karma.