Volunteer Mike Ferber and the handsome, red-vested assistance dog in training who accompanies him around town are indeed, as he says, “a walking, talking billboard” for Can Do Canines. They’re also a billboard for the Thrivent Choice program.
Mike enjoys telling people about how Can Do Canines assistance dogs provide independence for people with disabilities and how to volunteer for the organization. If those folks are Thrivent Financial members, he also explains how they can direct Thrivent grant money toward Can Do Canines through the Thrivent Choice program.
Mike and his partner, Betty Otto, have been Can Do Canines volunteers for 13 years. During that time they have puppy raised 12 assistance dogs in training and taught them basic obedience and good house manners and socialized them in public. Even after all these years, it still takes a bit of effort.
“It’s a challenge to take that bundle of fur and mold it into something that helps people,” Mike says.
Mike and Betty take the dogs in training with them almost everywhere—to grocery stores, hotels, coffee shops, even to spinning exercise class at the YMCA. This helps the pups acclimate to the variety of different environments where they’ll one day perform their skills. When the Ferbers are at home their miniature Australian shepherd, Connie, even lends a paw.
“Connie helps train the puppies,” Mike says. “They follow her around and do what she does.”
While raising puppies, Mike also volunteers for Thrivent Financial. One day he asked Thrivent to include Can Do Canines in the Thrivent Choice charitable grant program. Through Thrivent Choice, members are able to recommend where the organization chooses to distribute its charitable funds. Members can designate $25 to $5,000 in Choice Dollars based on the Thrivent services they use and their level of volunteerism within the organization.
If you are a Thrivent member and would like to direct your Choice Dollars to Can Do Canines follow this link or choose “Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota aka Can Do Canines” on the proper forms.
For more details on the Thrivent Choice Program or how to get involved contact Shirley Bachman, Thrivent Financial Associate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can Do Canines appreciates every Thrivent Choice Dollar and other contributions that help make our assistance dogs a reality. The organization also appreciates volunteers such as Mike who volunteer and advocate for Can Do Canines in so many ways.