Last June, Canine Companions’ national board decided that Canine Companions should take bold and essential steps to sustain and grow our life-changing mission. The board took the critical first step in this process by approving a long range strategic plan called “Foundation, Sustainability, Optimization.” Core initiatives in the plan include:
* A dedicated canine maternity center to support volunteer breeder caretakers and improve puppy wellness
* Enhancements to our renowned training and graduate support programs
* Outreach in communities all over America through DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, Canine Companions’ signature national event
* Partnerships with companies that support our mission with financial and promotional resources
* A corps of advancement professionals dedicated to helping our most philanthropic donors realize their dreams for Canine Companions
The execution of this plan will strengthen our financial and programmatic foundation, and ensure that we continue to be the innovators and advocates we’ve always been, standing at the vanguard of the assistance dog service sector.
Canine Companions began in 1975 in a home office and a garage, and, true to its core values then and since, the first Canine Companions assistance dog was trained and provided free of charge to a person with a physical disability.
In the nearly 40 years since, thanks to the unparalleled generosity and dedication of our community, we’ve grown tremendously. The finest assistance dog trainers in the world staff five Canine Companions Regional Training Centers. This elite corps possesses hundreds of years of cumulative experience in both assistance dog training and instruction to people with over 30 different types of disabilities. Our trainers’ dedication and spirit are a testament to Canine Companions’ identity as a people organization utilizing great dogs to serve humankind.
Last year, Canine Companions placed 255 excellent graduate teams and conducted over 900 follow-up visits to ensure quality partnerships, entirely free of charge. It’s no coincidence that as we’ve provided more and more assistance dogs free of charge, more and more people with disabilities come to understand the life-changing benefits of assistance dogs. Demand for our highly trained assistance dogs is ongoing and growing.
“Foundation, Sustainability, Optimization” is a statement of our commitment to meeting that demand. Working together to advance its core principles, we’ll continue changing lives by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing follow-up services to adults, children, and veterans, all free of charge, for generations to come.