A Brief History

On August 25, 1989 Can Do Canines certified their very first assistance dog, little Annie, with our client, Marcy Bury. Annie was the first Hearing Assist Dog placed by our brand new organization, then known as the Hearing Dog Program of Minnesota.

Three years later the organization’s good work began to be recognized in the community. Although we had only graduated a total of 22 teams by the end of 1992, we still received both the Nonprofit Mission Award for Innovation from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Distinguished Service Award from Minnesota and from the State Council on Disability.

In 1995, we changed our name to Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota and certified our first Mobility Assist Dog. Things continued to accelerate through the first six years of the new century as we began placing dogs in surrounding states and graduated our first Diabetes Assist and Seizure Assist dogs. By the end of 2006, we celebrated the graduation of 200 teams.

In 2007, the organization became a fully accredited member of Assistance Dogs International to ensure our dogs were meeting the highest of standards and our first Autism Assist Dog team was placed. As we continued this ground-breaking work, we declared a $4.4 million Capital Campaign, which allowed us to sign a purchase agreement on our own building and add kennel space to meet the needs of more clients and more dogs. We also announced a new logo and our new name: Can Do Canines.

In 2010, we moved into the new building and began a puppy program at Sandstone Federal Prison. Can Do Canines now operates puppy programs in four Minnesota prisons.

In 2012, we graduated team number 450 and the following year successfully completed our Capital Campaign, finishing building renovations and assuring our new facility would be paid for by 2017.

Since the graduation of our first team, Marcy and Annie in 1989, more than 475 Can Do Canines assistance dog teams have been placed. Annie changed Marcy’s life for the better and the same can be said for each team that has graduated due to the support of people like you. Thank you for making our work possible.