The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2011, March 26-27

Can Do Canines

Paired with Push & Run

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.

Can Do Canines originally began in 1987 as The Hearing Dog Program of Minnesota with a focus of providing assistance dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and rescuing homeless dogs from animal shelters whenever possible. Over the years we expanded our services to include more types of assistance dogs. In 2010 we changed our name to Can Do Canines, a name that reflects the fact that we are training and placing an increasingly diverse array of assistance dogs that serve a multitude of disabilities.

Our fully trained dogs, often adopted from animal shelters, are provided to our clients who live with disabilities that involve mobility challenges, hearing loss or deafness, seizure disorders, autism, or diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness.

During our more than 20 year history we have trained, certified and placed 332 assistance dog teams, with more than 1/3 of those graduate dogs starting out in animal shelters. In 2010 we placed 30 assistance dogs and plan to increase program graduates to 40 teams during 2011. We currently have 100 applicants waiting for service

These unique dogs, professional training, equipment and ongoing support are provided to each client free of charge.

What new functionality we are looking for

We want our new website to make it easy for people searching the web for information about assistance dogs to find Can Do Canines. The site must be attractive and engaging, very user friendly, donor friendly and media friendly. We want to be the organization people think of when they need information about assistance dogs. Every other element and function should be built, created and designed to support that purpose in some way.

• We currently have a lone "techie" tied to a single copy of Dreamweaver, adding everything painstakingly by hand. It would be excellent if we had a content management system that allowed multiple employees to participate in updating web content so we could stay fresh and up-to-date.

• Our site was designed more than six years ago and the branding work we've done for our other methods of communication (brochures, etc.) are not reflected in our current website design. We need a fresh design that aligns with our brand in every way.

• We need a clean user interface that helps us to keep events, news items, multimedia, newsletter articles, and the like fresh and constantly updated.

• Everyone loves the dogs— clients and contributors alike. It would be wonderful if we had easy ways to share our great photos and video. In particular, we want visitors to see the dogs in action when they visit our site. When a visitor reads the words “…the dog keeps the child safe”, that is very different than if they can see a video clip of the dog actually keeping the child safe. It makes the concept immediate and real.

• We need to have a number of solid, intuitive web forms so people can subscribe to our publications, sign up for volunteer opportunities, and even begin the application process online. We want to actively capture contact information of those who visit our site so we can stay in touch via our new eNewsletter to be launched later during 2011.

• Our factual information, like our program information or contribution opportunities, need to be clean, well-organized, easy to read, easy to print out, and easy for a non-web-savvy person to navigate.

• Communicating clearly and regularly with our valued group of Puppy Raisers is a challenge we currently meet with a Yahoo group. We would like to integrate parts of this function with our website and have a user-account-accessed "portal" for internal calendars, updates, and specialized documents.

• Creating our site would be a great challenge for people who are interested in accessibility in web design. Many people can make a nice-looking website—but only truly talented designers can make one that looks great, for all people, all of the time, no matter what unusual combination of technologies they're using. Our audience runs a huge gamut: from businesspeople who read our site on a smartphone or iPad, to people in rural areas who are limited to dial-up internet, to people with disabilities who access the web in non-standard ways.

How the new functionality will help

We have no budget for conventional advertising. We depend on the website to draw contributors and prospective clients alike.

Drawing people with disabilities to our site is critical to meeting their needs. If they can’t find us, they can’t benefit from our well-trained dogs. We repeatedly hear that a prospective client searched the world for an organization that could meet their specialized needs, only to later learn that we were here, often right in their own back yard, We are told that they learned about us accidentally, via word of mouth.

Contributors and volunteers also need to find us easily to learn more about our cause and become more involved. When they find us, they need to both be impressed with the quality and character of our organization so they are motivated to become a partner in our work.

Without more volunteers, we cannot train the volume of dogs we need to address those on the waiting list.

Without more contributors, we cannot expand the programs that provide more dogs to those who need them.

Increasing connections to these important groups will ultimately provide more trained dogs to people with disabilities in our community.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_screen%20shot%202011-03-18%20at%203.23.38%20pm Thumbnail_screen%20shot%202011-03-30%20at%203.06.15%20pm

44 Messages from Supporters

2011-02-11 18:33:34 UTC
Amy Sperry

Please help this organization - they deserve any help they can get to increase awareness and make a user-friendly online interface for their supporters and clients. Can Do Canines trains dogs and places them with clients who have specific needs ----and does this at NO CHARGE to the client. How terrific is that? My husband and I have supported this organization since 1999. They do wonderful work and are always looking to increase their services to their clients. Thanks for considering Can Do Canines!

2011-02-11 18:45:55 UTC
Jean Euteneuer

My Hearing assistance dog Lexie has changed my life in so many ways. With Lexie I feel more secure, confident and have a new sense of responsibility for caring for her. I am forever grateful to Can Do Canines as well as those responsible for donating Lexie and the puppy raisers and the staff at Can Do Canines that helped her become the dog she is today.
Thank you so much Can Do Canines
Jean Euteneuer

2011-02-11 19:15:33 UTC
Marjorie Okerstrom, St. Paul MN

I have been involved with Can Do Canines since November of 2007. My youngetst son Has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Speech impairment. After many time consuming nights I found this organization. (at the time they weere called Hearing and Services dogs of MN.) I had been looking for an orginization in our area that would help us in getting a much needed service dog for our son. I honestly do not know how I got to their web site but I did and when I did I found out that there Autism dog program was farely new. We applied immediatly and in November 2007 were accepted into the program. Fast forward to the presant as of February 2011 we are still waiting for a dog.

I do feel that Can Do Canines is doing everything they can to get us a dog as quickly as they can but it is a long process. (After all we do get these precious dogs free of charge.) I know they have a new facility now and I just feel that if they got a total revamp of there web site it would help in such a big way and move things along faster. This organization helps so many people free of charge and are continually making life easier for many many people in this community. Thank you!

2011-02-11 19:29:59 UTC
Mike Branch

"When you support Can Do Canines, either as a staff member, as a volunteer or as a financial donor, you save lives." These words were spoken by a program graduate at a tour I attended a couple of years ago. She went on to explain how her service dog not only improved the quality of her life, but had in fact saved her life on a number of occasions. For me, this was very motivating. Can Do Canines is not just about the dogs. Its about improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and for those around them.

Can Do Canines provide more service dogs and more types of service dogs than any other similar organization in the area. What's more, we continue to push the push the envelope with our cutting edge training of diabetes assist and autism assist service dogs. We do this all with no charge to the client. Quite simply, Can Do Canines is the best at what they do.

Mike Branch -- Can Do Canines Board Member

2011-02-11 20:14:28 UTC
Terry Hansmeier

Simply the best organization in the Twin Cities area helping those that need the help required to make there lives alot easier, I speak from experience, they helped me. I'm a paraplegic who is confined to a wheelchair. I asked for there help to provide me with a service dog and they answered, BIG TIME!!!! I recieved a 2 year old Black Lab by the name of Stanley, and he helps me in so many ways. Can Do Canines go out of there way to make sure everything works out with there specialy trained service dogs.

Please help this organization that helps so many others regain there independence. I know, they helped me. Thanks to all the members of the Can Do Canine Org. and to there sevices.

Terry Hansmeier & Stanley

2011-02-12 00:30:58 UTC
Dudley Parsons

I have no direct connection to Can Do Canines, but have seen through client testimonials at our Lions Club conventions what a positive affect they have had on peoples lives. We have heard first-hand from clients that told us whata profound affect their Autism Dog has had on the life of their son, and have seen in print the affect that Traeh, the great German Shepard Autism Dog has done for the young man in that family that could not go out into public until Treah entered his life.

Many years ago, I heard what a Hearing Service dog did for her master, in making her feel so much safer in her home with a dog that would alert her to the sounds in the household that required action. Finally, we have seen how a service dog was helpful in opening doors and picking up dropped items to a wheel-chair bound young man that could not reach or do those thing shfor himeself. This organization deserves your help.

2011-02-12 01:13:13 UTC
Patricia Browne and "Solstice"

Please help Can Do Canines with their website. They are an awesome organization, the elite of service dog organizations. It would be impossible for me to live my life independently without my service dog "Solstice." Can Do Canines truly serves people with disabilities, and they do so with respect, flexibility, and passionate commitment.

2011-02-11 20:30:47 UTC
Dee Hollerud

How do I begin to tell you what a amazing service Can Do Canine performs and they are so deserving of this gift you are offering. I am a Puppy Raiser for Can Do Canines and my life has changed. I know that sounds funny because these dogs are meant to change others lives. Let me explain. My job as a puppy raiser is to bring a puppy into my house and train it. I start with the basic of just potty training and lead up to helping the puppy learn to be in every environment, having great behavior, and the start of service acts. I have helped teach dogs to open doors, pull off socks and coats, and even bring up the laundry baskets. The pride of watching a puppy that I helped train grow and become a service dog is a terrific feeling. I have seen puppies I have touched become an assist dog for a child with severe autism and an assist dog for a gentleman with quadriplegia. I feel blessed to be healthy and have a healthy family that if my gift can be just to share love with a puppy for 16 months so that he can give so much more for another person it truly is the least I can do. I hope you consider Can Do Canines for your website makeover..

2011-02-11 20:34:48 UTC
Kim Dixon

I learned of Can Do Canines when providing some phones for their organization. I was very happy to support them in that way. My family are animal lovers and truly know the boundless gifts a dog can provide, especially to a person in need of extra help. These are life changers. They've provided more than 350 new canine partners at no cost to individuals. This is an unbelievable accomplishment. If getting an updated Web site makes it easier for them to do even more great work, please help them the way they help so many.

2011-02-11 20:36:07 UTC
Ron Wolff and Freckles

After a sudden,profound hearing loss, my wife was afraid to travel since I couldn't hear the phone or the smoke alarm or anything else,especially when I was asleep. Can do Canines came through for me and I now have a mixed breed dog the will help with all of those things and much more. She alerts me to the door bell or knock and is always on the alert for intruders. My wife can now leave with the confidence that I will be able to be on time for work, that I will be able to hear a phone call and that if the smoke alarm does go off I will be alerted. Freckles is a rescued dog and it has been a good thing for both of us.

If a new website will help to get this across to only a few it would be worth the effort but I feel it would be far more beneficial than that especially since there is so much that is done over the internet at this time. I found out about the organization by accident but many look to the net for there help and I have directed many to the website in the past 3 years. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated by many. Keep up the good work.

2011-02-11 21:18:11 UTC
Kirsten Purvis

I love Can Do Canines! It feels great to volunteer for such a giving organization. The goal to raise, train and place service dogs in our community FREE OF CHARGE to the recipient is a huge undertaking. The staff and volunteers work with the dogs from puppyhood to placement, involving years of commitment per service dog.

Since the staff is small and undertaking is huge, CDC needs help from volunteers and organizations to keep it moving forward. A new website would be beneficial in many ways. The website is used to generate donations, bring in volunteers, reach out to people in need of service animals, and increase awareness within the community. A re-tooled website would help make navigation of the site easier and more effective for everyone.

Please select Can Do Canines! By doing so, you benefit many in need.

Kirsten Purvis
Volunteer Can Do Canines

2011-02-11 22:24:09 UTC
Peter Morlock

We got involved with Can Do Canines as volunteer puppy raisers to help give back to the community and help someone in need. In the process I discovered how helpful an assistance dog can be. With the encouragement of my family I applied for and received a mobility assist dog (Guido) a year ago. He has made a tremendous amount of differnce in my life and mobility providing a steady presence and helping paw on a daily basis; whether picking up objects from the floor, or providing a steady form for me to lean on, he has been a great help. Your assistance would help others experience the blessings that I have recieved.

2011-02-12 01:39:27 UTC
Sarah G.

Wow, what a wonderful opportunity you are giving this phenomenal organization by offering this challenge!

As a part-time CDC field trainer in out-state Minnesota I frequently refer people to Can Do Canine's website. Not only clients with a variety of needs, but potential donors that are so important to CDC and volunteers that would make such a huge difference out here so far from the metro area. And yet I have seen first hand how hard it is for clients in rural areas to access the services CDC has to offer. Providing more efficient, user friendly ways for people to navigate the site and get the most current information through an updated website could, would... change so many lives by making it easier for volunteers, donors, and above all people with disabilities to find out about CDC and how they can help.

Each of the points of the "What We Wish Our Website Could Do" section above is so vital to what CDC can do given the opportunity you offer. Increase the availabilty of people in need to access CDC's services, increase volunteer involvement, increase awareness for potential donors (and volunteers), and provide streamlined communication for all the above. (I'd also like to see a secure forums just for volunteers, trainers, puppy raisers and clients, so they can help each other through the ups and downs of training).

Way to go CDC, you rock! The small part I have had in helping hearing, mobilty and diabetes assistance dogs become partners for life with those that need them has change MY life forever!

PS - You Puppy Raisers are outstanding! Keep it up!

2011-02-12 02:54:44 UTC
Mikki Johnson

Can Do Canine's organization is amazing. We are in the process of getting a autism dog for our son who has limited verbal communication. I cannot tell you how great they have been so far in the process really patient and teaching us how to further better our son's experience. We have only met the dog and our son was beaming with joy after. We are so excited to actually have the dog full time as it will be a life changer for our son. A new companion to keep him safe and have a pal. I get so emotional every time I think about it. If you have a special kiddo you understand the want for your child to have pals to hang with and "have their back". This will enable the house to sleep better also as the dog will sleep with our son. We are so excited to be a part of the CDC family. Thank you for changing our lives for the better!

2011-02-12 04:02:53 UTC
Karin Toston

I can't say enough great things about Can Do Canines. My husband and I first got involved with Can Do Canines by donating one of our Golden Retriever Puppies, Gabby to be trained to help someone in need a couple years ago and since then I have raised money for the annual walk and helped by selling candy bars.
In December we donated two more of our Golden Retriever Puppies, Marvin & Malcom to also be trained to help a person in need. We can't wait to see them graduate and begin to help be a great part of someone's life,we are so very proud of each one of them.
I get so excited when I share the program with others that I find myself getting very emotional as the dogs really do AMAZING things.
NO ONE would be disappointed in supporting this great cause of Can Do Canines, it is very gratifing.
Thank You Can Do Canines!

2011-02-12 04:18:27 UTC
Kathy Grant

My husband and I found Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota through a help needed ad in the Star and Trib. This was back in 2002. They were a fairly small organization at that time, with maybe 10 -15 dogs being traimed at any one time. OMG have they come a long ways since then. We are now training our 8th puppy and 5 dogs that we have trained have graduated. I can not put into words the feeling that comes over me when I see or hear about what one of those dogs can do to change someones life. HSDM has now become Can Do Canines and is blossoming into a very successfull, professional, volunteer oriented
organization. A new website would be the icing on the cake!

2011-02-12 16:28:59 UTC
J Dubats

I have been aware of the good things Can Do Canines has been doing for many years. As a part of a Lions Club, I have been able to watch dedicated people help others and keep up to date on the growth of this non profit. The success has been amazing as the organization started with helping those unable to hear and now the expansion to aiding those with a wide variety of disabilities. Anything that can be done to help get the word out could help many people. That has been the aim of this organization - help other with the aid of a well trained dog. An updated website would be wonderful.

2011-02-12 18:07:41 UTC
MarySue Krueger, Can Do Canines Board Member

I have been a supporter of Can Do Canines for the past six years. During that time I have seen how having an assistance dog has changed the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities, and how the ripple effect of these amazing partnerships has spread to their families, friends and local communities. Our greatest reward is watching these wonderful individuals and their dogs rise to a higher quality of life, and live up to greater potential than they would have had they not become a team. It breaks my heart when people who could benefit from one of our dogs tell me they don’t know about Can Do Canines. We want everyone to know about us so they can decide if having an assistance dog would be right for them. Our web site is a critical tool in accomplishing that. Thank you for considering Can Do Canines’ web site for a makeover by The Nerdery.

2011-02-12 19:30:43 UTC
Michael G. Ferber

Al Peters, Executive Director and Founder, asked us many years ago when it was called Hearing and Service Dogs of MN to volunteer. 18 dogs later we are still doing so. We have been puppy raisers all those years as well as fosters, volunteers at events, etc. This is our primary "hands-on" volunteer activity. We also support them financially. And... We have asked our family, business associates and friends to support this organization through financial support as well. Having a first class website would help the organization fulfill its mission while helping individuals live more peacefully with freedom and independence. Can Do Canines does so much and can do so much more with a little help.

As a famous ad says "Just Do It." I say to you--just do it. You will be glad you did.

Mike Ferber
Puppy Raiser, Donor and Volunteer

2011-02-12 20:51:05 UTC
Patricia Hughes

I think that Can Do Canines is the model charitable organization. They not only bring happiness and mobility to people who've lost so much, they train the magnificent animals themselves (along with owners) and do so at no cost. The owners and the dogs both win big time in dedication and a sense of worth and purpose. While many charities do good work, this win-win situation between humans and dogs is the real thing.

I have been a supporter financially and with airline tickets and good will for years - and cannot think of a more worthy organization. Their network of volunteers and staff cando so much more with their time - you are web experts and they are paw experts! With a new website, they will spend less time on inefficient updates and work-arounds and more valuable time can be given the recipients and the dogs.

If you have any doubt they should win a new website to make their efforts smoother, just visit a Graduation and it will bring tears and joy to your hearts. Visit the kennels and see the eager little faces ready to learn and to make someone's life easier. Each and every one of us (or someone we know) could be in a needy situation some day due to circumstances beyond our control. There is a New Yorker cartoon: "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog." Well these dogs know they're dogs. Please, help them with their website!!!

2011-02-14 00:21:21 UTC
Amy Ross

I came to know Can Do Canines when I donated a dog many years ago, a smooth collie. I have now donated several collies incliding 2 entire litters. It has made a huge impact on my life to see how the dogs can change someone's life. It has made everything with the dogs so much more meaningful to me. I love that I get to have a small piece in changing someone's life. I know that a website would help them impact so many more people and hopefully get more people to help them out in ways that will change their lives like it has changed mine.

2011-02-13 18:08:40 UTC
S.W. Granger

The long waiting list for services is one of the most important reasons Can Do Canines needs a boost. A new website will help spread the word and leverage more resources for their critical work.

I've been following Can Do Canines for several years and have contributed financially. The service they provide is amazing. These folks are super-committed and I feel privileged to help out in a very small way.

2011-02-13 21:36:31 UTC
Cindy Madsen

How many situations in life are a "win-win"? A situation where everybody gains and nobody loses?

When you hear the word "hope", what feeling does it give you?

Has anyone ever give you a second chance at something? How did that feel?

When I see an organization that is dedicated 100% to giving both people and dogs a second chance at a better life, a better life that is filled with hope, I know it is an organization that deserves our support. As a volunteer, I have witnessed firsthand the benefit of the staff's dedicated, tireless, outstanding work (Can do Canines is wonderful to their volunteers, as well). I have seen the passion with which they carry out the training of these dogs, always concerned with the dogs' happiness and well-being. I have seen the joy in their faces when they present the graduate dog to someone who truly needs it. This is an exceptional organization.

I started with my testimonial with a question, now I will end with one.

How many things in life are free? All of this is done with no charge to the client.

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully submitted,
Cindy Madsen

2011-02-13 22:11:58 UTC
Mary R.

Yesterday my Diabetes Assist dog, Ebony, saved me a trip to the Emergency Room and possibly my life. My blood sugar had dropped to a dangerously low level during a nap. Ebony woke me up by jumping on me and licking my face. Then she brought me a can of soda because I couldn't get off the couch to get it myself. She stayed glued to my side until she was sure I was okay.

Ebony came to me from Can Do Canines at NO COST to me. She is a priceless gift and because of her I sleep better.

A redesigned website will help this amazing organization attract more volunteers, more donors. And that, in turn will help them train more dogs so people like me can sleep at night.

2011-02-14 01:06:32 UTC
Christine Peters

Why do I love Can Do Canines? Can Do Canines is all about the relationship between people and animals. There are countless benefits to both. From its earliest days when it rescued pound dogs who were slated to be "put to sleep" and turned them into hearing dogs to current work being done by prisoners who are training dogs, this organization keeps pushing the envelop of service to others. People with diabetes, seizure disorders, autism, hearing impairment and all types of physical limitations experience new freedoms, peace of mind, and support. Recently I was at a Halloween party celebrating puppy raisers at the beautiful facility in New Hope, Minnesota. Imagine a woman and puppy both dressed as butterflies, another team dressed as a banana split, and a man and his puppy both wearing kilts! Wouldn't you love to see photos like these on their new website? Everyone needs to learn more about Can Do Canines!

2011-02-14 01:20:44 UTC
Karen Barstad

I have a friend who has a Diabetic Assist Dog, and through her I have learned what amazing work Can Do Canines is doing. This organization saves lives, reduces medical costs (because the owners encounter fewer medical emergencies that lead to hospitalization), and provides much needed companionship for people with significant disabilities and health challenges. A website is a great way to spread the message of what Can Do Canines does. A well-designed website means the message reaches a broader audience with greater effectiveness. Can Do Canines can do more if they have the best technology available. I'm confident they will use it well.

2011-02-14 02:02:41 UTC
C Stevens

My husband and I have been volunteers for CDC for a number of years. We have seen first hand how these service dogs change the lives of their clients and in some instances save their lives! A new website would increase the visibility, communication and awareness of what Can Do Canines has to offer and it would enhance the hard work of the volunteers and staff. Thank you for this opportunity.

2011-02-14 02:02:50 UTC
C Stevens

My husband and I have been volunteers for CDC for a number of years. We have seen first hand how these service dogs change the lives of their clients and in some instances save their lives! A new website would increase the visibility, communication and awareness of what Can Do Canines has to offer and it would enhance the hard work of the volunteers and staff. Thank you for this opportunity.

2011-02-14 15:26:47 UTC
Gregory A. Lee

I am a 60 year old Type 1 Diabetic who has had the disease since I was 33 years old. I was one of the first in the wave of adult onset type ones.

The only complications I have from the illness, because I take such good care of myself, is hypoglycemic unawareness. I have no clue, as I did when I was newer to the disease, of where or when my blood sugar was dropping. I would often wake up surrounded by "white coats, either in the ER or somewhere in public by EMT's struggling to bring me back to consciousness.

That is when AJ--the Wonder Dog came in to my life. A short haired Golden Retriever Diabetic Service Dog that can sense when my blood sugar is dropping and can alert me to the event before I lose control, can bring me food, glucose and stays by my side if help is needed.

This organization makes an untenable situation very manageable and affordable. It's hard to imagine life without AJ.

Greg Lee

2011-02-14 15:46:59 UTC
Dianne Walsh Astry

As a puppy raiser and board member for Can Do Canines I know first hand that our dogs "fetch amazing things". But we need "amazing" ways to "fetch" those individuals, businesses and potential clients who want to be a part of the Can Do Canines mission; a dedication to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. Please help us build a dynamic electronic "storefront" for the organization so we can expand our outreach and live our mission to the greatest extent. Thanks!

2011-02-14 18:07:24 UTC
Dave and Joy Kraft

Please help CAn Do Canines.We have been involved with the organization since 2003 when we got out first "foster dog".We helped by keeping dogs until they were ready to enter into a partnership with a client.Every dog was so amazing.I think it really hit home when we were sponsors at a graduation for Archie.There are no words to describe how the person receiving the dog and the dog interact.The training and selection process is so great and the more the public can see the results the better.Please help them to help others.

2011-02-14 19:16:37 UTC
Leonard J Washko, Board President

Can Do Canines is doing the right thing and doing things right. Doing the right thing: delivering great results to clients whose lives are truly changed by their new partnership with a service dog. Doing things right: investing in continuing improvement as a non-profit in the public trust - with high integrity and squeezing value from every dollar donated and every hour of volunteer time.

In five years as a volunteer, I've come to appreciate the value Can Do Canines has placed on operational improvements, sound financial management and reporting, and solid business practices - just as much as I appreciate the dogs and inspiring stories of how they help our clients.

Can Do Canines is building a strong brand and is very deserving of a top website that will help spread the important message of how we are delivering independence to people through priceless partnerships with amazing dogs.

2011-02-14 21:14:35 UTC
Stacy Pearson (aka The Blogunteer)

Back in October The Blogunteer profiled Can Do Canines. While they do have great content on their site, it is static and doesn't engage the reader. I think they have great opportunities to highlight more of the great work they do. I think their idea of including videos would be great! I have heard that the dog graduation ceremonies are very moving. I see the other testimonials already tell about the great work that this organization does, so I will just say, they are a great organization that has a passion to do even more...without a great website, they will have a very hard time executing on that passion in this age of social media. Thank you.

2011-02-14 23:31:10 UTC
Sally Field and Tim Higgins

This message of support for Can Do Canines is so important! The work they do in support of animals and furever homes for them is essential to them and their humans. Please assist them with whatever they need, their mission is one of compassion and priceless to continuing support of their cause!

2011-02-15 13:03:34 UTC
Sharon Steinbrecher

I have been involved with Can Do Canines as a volunteer for the past four years, and it has been an eye-opening and rewarding experience. I have learned about and met courageous people whose lives have been greatly enhanced by their service dogs and the people who made it all possible. Can Do Canines provides these amazing service dogs free of charge to clients who need them through generous donations and volunteers, along with a small staff, whose dedication is unending.

As the Chair of the Special Events Committee, I can attest to the work it takes of many to spread the word about our fundraising efforts, and the small staff at Can Do Canines is wonderful about posting our latest events on our website, but they could use your help. Can Do Canines can do more with better exposure. A newly revamped website could make the difference in reaching those that have never had the opportunity to learn about Can Do Canines and their service dogs who fetch amazing things!

Sharon Steinbrecher
Special Events Committee

2011-02-15 15:11:47 UTC
JodiAnn Wisehart and Wilma

At the age of 45, I survived a Brain Stem stroke, it took me months to be able to get around, but left me with little balance and a lot of depression. I found myself falling a lot when I went to pick things up off the floor. My children had concerns about me living on my own and I ended up living with my daughter and grandson. Someone then asked me if I thought about getting an assistant dog to help me. I went on the internet and found Can-do- Canines site, it wasn’t the easiest site to get around for information but I found the number and ended up calling. It took me 2 years to be able to get my Wilma, but `I’m so blessed to have her now. My depression is gone and I don’t remember the last time I fell because of something on the floor. My children and family aren’t as worried now that I have her and I’m now looking to find my own place for Wilma and I. Can-Do-Canine has done so many wonderful things for so many people and it is all done with NO COST to the people that need help. I feel that with a web-site make over it would be easier for clients and the general public to find the information that they are looking for which could help with bringing people in with the many fund raisers they have. Thank you for your time in reading this and I pray you choose Can-Do-Canine as the winner.

2011-02-15 15:28:45 UTC
William Lozito

Can Do Canines can be summed up in three words:


Actually, there’s a fourth word and that’s love.

What the staff at Can Do Canines does is a labor of love. It’s not for money, it’s not for recognition, it’s not for boasting.

It’s only to help those that need and would benefit from help to regain their independence and freedom.

At the current time, the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is taking place in New York City. Over the years, this dog show is characterized by two main developments.

Promoting and including additional breeds
Strengthening the emotional bond we humans have with dogs

Can Do Canines builds on this emotional bond between humans and dogs in a loving way to celebrate the independence its clients achieve.

Over a several month period, we partnered with the organization to develop their new name, Can Do Canines, and their new logo that reflects their expanded services and reach.

A new website will help show their new name, new logo and services to improve the awareness of the organization and ultimately help and support those in need of assistance dogs.

2011-02-15 16:17:43 UTC
Sandy & Kevin Vance

We love Can Do Canines!
It is an awesome organization to volunteer for. Their goal to help all those who need and want a service dog Free of Charge is a huge undertaking and they have been successful with this mission for 20 years, however with this new age of hyper communication their website needs updating to be able to captivate the younger audience and spur them into volunteering their time or money to continue Can Do Canine’s good work.

Please select Can Do Canines for a website uplift to continue delivering their message to those in need and those looking to help!!!

Sandy & Kevin Vance
Puppy Raiser Volunteers

2011-02-15 17:33:41 UTC
Kathleen Galiger

I am a volunteer for Can Do Canines and have been since 2004. I am a 'foster mom' for hearing service dogs. I have always loved dogs and know what awesome companions they can be. I saw their booth at Home and Garden Show and knew immediately it was a way to give back to the community. I have had about 16 dogs over the years. Have pictures of all of them on my memory board. When they leave my care to go into training I will cry my eyes out as I will miss them. BUT I know they are going to serve a very deserving and needing client.
Jean Eutereuer has a testimonial about Lexi. I fostered Lexi ! So I feel just great knowing that Lexi is working out so well and that I had a small part in her success.
Can DO Canines is an awesome organization. I am not sure how I can put it into worthy words. They are such caring and dedicated people. And obviously a very success organization as noted by there longevity and growth.
The need for service dogs across the nation is great. With the internet being such a big part of research people do, Can Do Canines needs to stand out. And the only cost to recipients....a $25.00 fee ! The New York Times published an article in August 2009 that the cost of a service dog can range from $15,000 to $50,000 ! There is no more deserving organization in need of your help.

2011-02-15 22:06:27 UTC
Peggy Marchesani

I first met one of Can Do Canines' service dogs at the Minneapolis Convention Center several years ago. What a perfect ambassador for an amazing organization that is all about helping people help themselves.

Most of us value our independence and can't imagine not having it. We rarely stop to think about how we would live a full life if we could not do so well on our own. And yet, a companion and assistance dog can be an unattainable solution for many, who have so much to offer the world if they could just have a little help - not even from a dedicated person, but a dedicated animal friend.

The web of life contains the solutions to all our problems if we open our minds. But communication is the first task to accomplish anything, and a powerful website could bring resources to those who need them who might otherwise never find them. Further, the volunteers and management of Can Do Canines can work more effectively with the best possible tools. What could be better than a world-class web site?

I volunteered for puppy-rasing for the first time last year, and have been overwhelmed by the competence and professionalism of this organization, to say nothing of the generosity of the community.
Please encourage the work of Can Do Canines with this wonderful Internet assistance.

Peggy Marchesani
Volunteer Puppy Raiser and donor

2011-02-15 22:32:21 UTC
Terri Krake and Brody

Brody and I are team that graduated from Can Do Canines in November of 2010!

Years ago I suffered a brain stem injury on the job while perfoming my duties as a police officer in New Orleans.

After 4 1/2 years of physical therapy, I was left with dibilitating seizures. There is no warning prior to these grand mal episodes. I would wake up wherever I fell. Many hospital ER visits and injuries occured. Due to the serious health risk, I underwent a 'Vagus Nerve Implant', or VNS for short.

Late in the year of 2009 at my neuroligist's urging, I contacted Can Do Canines to apply for one of their amazing animals. Having had a service animal before, I thought I knew what to expect.

I was not prepared for the amazing and dedicated people that I came into contact with. Every step of the way their heart and passion for what they do showed through. From the trainers, to the volunteers, to the puppy raisers!

I was happily introduced and teamed with a big gentle giant named Brody. Brody is a black lab. He was so smart and intuitive and well behaved (and yes a little goofy) that it was love at first sight!

I could not believe that he was mine for free! My life is so much richer with Brody in it. He wears a magnet on his collar and Can Do Canines trained him to activate my VNS implant. The result is that my 30-45 minute seizures are now reduced to 1-3 minutes. He is also starting to alert me to the seizure prior to them happening. He can bring me a portable phone, assist me in getting up off the ground, get help when needed, and many other helpful tasks.

The impact Brody has had on my life is invaluable. I suddenly see colors again. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I now see that it isn't a train! Brody has given me independence, confidence, and reminded me of something that I had lost sight of 'HOPE'.

Please consider the Can Do Canines Organization for this upgrade to their computers. The less time they spend on their website, the more time they can spend doing what they do best, training dogs for the folks that really need them. They are so deserving of this new web page. Their dogs fetch amazing things.. Can you imagine what amazing things everyone can fetch with the upgraded software? You will never reget it.

Thanks for the time you spent to read this..

Terri Krake and Brody
Ambassador and Volunteer

2011-02-16 01:57:27 UTC
Ken & Judy Stenzel & "Calvin"

At the age of 50 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which later was described as secondary progressive MS. We were forced to retire from our careers as rental property managers. Due to the rapid degree of disability we moved to a barrier free building. We met a young lady with Cerebral Palsy. The year that I turned 60, after numerous trips to rehabilitation, our friend asked us if we could help her look for a companion dog. I contacted the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Minnesota for their assistance in locating a companion dog. They recommended CDC. They explained that they did not train companion dogs but asked if I would like information on service dogs. I received the literature, put it on the table, and kind of forgot about it. Would pick it up occasionally and read through it. It really got me thinking about a service dog for myself. I finally got brave enough to fill out and send in the application. To my surprise I was accepted. Here I was, could only take 2 or 3 steps at a time, was taking between $2,800.00 and $3,200.00 in medication a month so how in the world was I going to take care of a dog?, walking, exercising, bathing, etc? They came and did the home interview,I received a letter about a week later saying they had a possible match for me. A Smooth-Coat Collie named Calvin. We made an appointment to meet Calvin and I believe we started the bonding with that first meeting.

Calvin came to live with us and our cat on May 29, 2008. Since that time Calvin and I have become inseparable. Judy, Calvin, and I now volunteer for CDC anytime they ask us. ie: Lion's Clubs, Schools, Churches, Conventions and anything they ask us to do.

Calvin has improved my life to the point where I am presently taking less than $20.00 a month in medications and my mobility has increased to about 20 feet plus a very much inproved mental attitude.

CDC's dogs not only fetch amazing things but they fetch the handlers whole being. Social interaction has improved and also Calvin and I both love kids. Kids are especially attracted to Calvin. I call Calvin my Gentle Giant. Calvin loves to walk to see all of his kid friends but at the same time he never forgets that he is a working dog.

You could really help CDC by helping them with a new website to further reach the people that need these assistants dogs.

CDC is the best organization we have ever volunteered for. The staff and all the volunteers are truly the most amazing people I have ever worked with.

Ken & Judy Stenzel & Calvin (THE WONDER DOG)!

2011-02-17 01:43:42 UTC
Robert Albee - A-POD - A Partnership Of Diabetics

I have been overjoyed to watch Ebony, Mary Rhatigan's service dog accompany her through her day! Today Mary introduced Ebony to the Minnesota Department of Health's Diabetes Plan Steering Committee participants. Most of these healthcare Professionals had never heard of a DIABETES service dog. Ebony probably saved her life last week! The Nerdery could do so much to help Can Do Canines further develop their program and help save lives and enrich so many more!

2011-02-25 16:31:31 UTC
Debra Burke & Pepsi

It is hard to believe it has been almost almost 7 years since my Super Service Dog Pepsi got to home to stay with me. At first I was kinda scared, because I had never had a dog before, not even a pet dog. Also I wasn't sure how Pepsi & my 4 cats would get along together. I quickly found out that my worries were all for naught. Pepsi is so smart, she knew all her commands. It was me that needed the training on which commands to say for what I needed.

Even though Pepsi was not trained as a hearing dog, she unofficially gives me assistance with that too. When I am home alone, I am much more comfortable because she will react to things that I cannot always hear due to my partial hearing loss.

Overall today I just could not imagine my life without my Pepsi Girl!! She is my constant companion & has completely stolen my heart. I love her more then words can ever explain.

Thank you to CDC for blessing me with this angel! I could never repay you, but Pepsi & I will try buy volunteering as much as we can. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Our Mission

Can Do Canines provides assistance dogs to people with five different kinds of disabilities. Each dog is trained to assist their person by mitigating one or more symptoms of their disability. The types of assistance dogs we provide include: HEARING ASSIST DOGS serve as the “ears” for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The dog listens for sounds like a knock on the door, smoke alarm or baby’s cry. When a sound happens, the dog touches the person to get their attention and leads them to the source of the sound. MOBILITY ASSIST DOGS are trained to work with an individual who has one or more physical disabilities. Mobility Assist Dogs are trained to meet individual needs and enhance the independence of the people they serve by: Providing mobility assistance to those using manual or electric wheelchairs, walkers or other devices // Retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors, and paying at tall counters. // Bracing to assist with standing or walking. // Alerting family members to a partners’ need for help. DIABETIC ASSIST DOGS are trained to alert their human partner with type-1 diabetes to low blood sugar levels. The dog is trained to sniff for the appropriate scent and then alert by nudging or placing a paw on the person. They can also retrieve an emergency food source or alert someone else to their partner’s need for help. SEIZURE ASSIST DOGS perform trained behaviors in response to a seizure. This may include licking the persons’ face or otherwise making contact with them, retrieving an emergency phone, carrying medical information and medications, or getting assistance from another person. AUTISM ASSIST DOGS assure the safety and security of children with autism and create peace of mind for their families by preventing them from bolting into dangerous situations. These valuable partners also provide a sense of security and tactile stimulation for the child, especially in new or public situations. OUR DOGS truly fetch amazing things for their partners: they retrieve the gifts of Freedom, Independence and Peace of Mind for our graduates and their families.