The PenFed Foundation partners with Canine Companions to help more veterans get life-changing service dogs
National campaign addresses urgent need for more volunteer puppy raisers
Provided by PenFed CU
Tysons, VA – The PenFed Foundation, a national 501(c)3 founded by PenFed CU, announces a groundbreaking partnership with Canine Companions to help provide more service dogs to veterans and others with a disability. The nationwide campaign is focused on recruiting more volunteer puppy raisers and encouraging more corporations to allow their employees to raise service dogs in the workplace. Canine Companions’ Pilot, a 10-week-old yellow Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, is the face of the new initiative. He’s being raised by PenFed Foundation President Andrea McCarren, her sixth future service dog in training.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand the extraordinary healing power of service dogs,” said McCarren. “Service dogs save lives and there’s never been a greater demand. The PenFed Foundation felt compelled to partner with Canine Companions to address the urgent need for more volunteers to raise puppies and help shorten the wait time for those in need. We also want to highlight the transformative, positive impact on a workplace when an employee raises a service dog.”
Canine Companions is the nation’s premier service dog organization. Founded in 1975, it has already placed more than 8,000 dogs. The organization provides these highly trained service dogs free of charge, but the current wait time to receive one of these dogs can be up to two years.
“Canine Companions is grateful to The PenFed Foundation for this important initiative to increase awareness regarding the need for volunteers across the country to raise future service dogs,” said Canine Companions CEO Paige Mazzoni. “Our expertly trained service dogs begin their journey with volunteers before attending professional training at one of our seven locations. This initiative will help expand our community of support and ultimately help us achieve our goals to create more independence for our injured military veterans, other adults and children with disabilities.”
PenFed CU president/CEO James Schenck introduced the Canine Companions puppy raising program to his employees in 2018. Since then, he's supported his employees raising nine service dogs at PenFed financial centers across the country.
“Having puppies with such a life changing mission in the workplace builds a culture of kindness and respect. It increases morale, lowers blood pressure and encourages employees to work from the office,” said Schenck. “It’s a wonderful way to give back to those who served and have employees work together to accomplish a meaningful goal.”
Service dogs can only be raised and trained one at a time, and their journey begins with dedicated volunteer puppy raisers. These volunteers play a crucial role socializing the pups from eight weeks of age until 18 months, when they return to Canine Companions for professional training. No formal dog training experience is required to become a puppy raiser. To learn more, go to: www.canine.org/penfedfoundation