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A Brief History

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.

In 1987 we incorporated as the Companion Dog Connection, Inc. In 1989 we began operations under the name Hearing Dog Program of Minnesota, providing services for deaf and hard-of-hearing clients. we graduated the first three Hearing Assist Dogs that year.

In 1995 our name changed to Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota in reflection of their expansion of programs to include services for people with physical disabilities. The organization later formally changed its corporate name to Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota and continues so today.

In 2000 Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota merged with the Master Eye Foundation of America, assuming their assets, but continuing to operate under the name Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota.

Over time we increased our service area to include Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota, and Iowa, with a few placements in Missouri and Illinois and added new services, providing assistance dogs to people with seizure disorders, children with autism, and people with diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness. Our previous name had served us well, but it no longer reflected the organization we had become.

After a nine-month journey during 2009 with the wonderful folks at Strategic Name Development we made a selection: Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota became Can Do Canines. Same dedicated staff and volunteers—same forward-thinking mission—new name. Can Do Canines expresses the positive enthusiasm that we feel for our mission.


$25,000 sponsors an assistance dog team, start to finish. The actual cost to train one team can be even higher. All assistance dogs are provided to the client at no charge.


14 full time employees; 6 part time employees; 20 field trainers


10 Board Members; 100 puppy raisers, 200+ total volunteers

More than 33 percent of our graduate assistance dogs were obtained through local animal shelters.

Financial Information

You can find our Annual Reports here.