NEW HOPE, Minn. — At Can Do Canines, dogs are trained to change lives.
“I’m so proud every day of the work that we do,” said Alan Peters, executive director of Can Do Canines.
Proud because Al knows what it’s like to feel alone. In the late 70’s, he moved to Minnesota and it was his dog – Molly – who saved him.
“It gave me a new appreciation for the relationship we have with animals, and I started investigating the human-animal bond. At that time, I vowed to begin training hearing dogs here and continue doing it until the need was met,” Peters said.
In 1989, he placed his very first Hearing Assist Dog – Annie.
“That was a dog adopted from an animal shelter and trained to be a hearing dog for someone who just couldn’t hear every day sounds like a door bell, door knocks, or important things like an alarm clock, a smoke alarm or somebody trying to break-in,” Peters said.
Annie positively changed a life. And, Al kept changing his program to help more people in need. In 1995, he started training mobility assist dogs. Since then, he’s added seizure assist teams, dogs for diabetes, and now Autism Assist Dogs. In all – Can Do Canines has placed over 550 assistance dog teams.
Peters added, “By doing five different programs, we’re not only able to help more people, but we’re able to fit more dogs into the right spot. So, that the dogs are happy and the people are well-served.”
“There are so many moments in this job that will literally still choke me up and bring me to tears. When you see that change that that dog has made – not only in their client’s life, but in so many lives to get them there,” said Nancy Weitgenant, Puppy Program Coordinator at Can Do Canines.