Friends to Dogs
There are a lot of terrific national and regional organizations —as well as ones beyond our borders—that support dogs and the people who love them. These groups are devoted to diverse endeavors: training dogs for service roles; coordinating dog-rescue programs; facilitating dog-fostering opportunities; making free health services for dogs available; and much more.
Many of these entities depend on donations to fulfill their missions. If you can help in any way, I encourage you to do so. And, because most are non-profits, your support is often tax-deductible. Bookmark this page to revisit at the holidays; a contribution to one of these organizations in a loved-one’s name is a meaningful gift—especially for “the person who has everything.”
If there is an association near and dear to your heart that is not included here, use the Contact page to send me the information. I’d be glad to share it.
Click the links below to learn more—I think you’ll be humbled by what you find.
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Society was established to promote and nurture the bond between animals and humans. Today, the organization helps rescue abandoned or abused pets; ensure the humane treatment of farm animals; support conservation of wild and controlled environments for animals; protect the safety of animal actors; help military K-9 teams on and off the battlefield; and provide service dogs to veterans. In addition, American Humane provides grants to fund a spectrum of programs and to recognize individuals whose work focuses on “harnessing the remarkable power of the human-animal bond.”
With a mission statement of, “We Are Their Voice,” the ASPCA was the first humane society established in North America. Today, it is one of the largest in the world, and is headquartered in New York City. Founded on the belief that “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law, the ASPCA maintains programs that extend its anti-cruelty mission across the country.
To help those who have “served our country honorably live with dignity and independence,” the service-dog programs of America’s VetDogs® were created to provide “enhanced mobility and renewed independence to United States veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities, allowing them to once again live with pride and self-reliance. Not only does a service dog provide support with daily activities, it provides the motivation to tackle everyday challenges.” Dogs are trained to serve in individual’s homes as well as in VA hospitals.
For more than 30 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been running the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, and creating and supporting programs that reduce the number of animals entering shelters in the first place.
Since 1989, Can Do Canines has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially-trained dogs. The organization’s philosophy is that an assistance dog can bring greater freedom, independence, and peace of mind to a person’s life while allowing the dog to enjoy a life of dignity in a good home.
Since its founding in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence has been providing assistance dogs free of charge to: adults and children with disabilities, veterans, and partnering with professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice, and education. Canine Companions is the largest provider of assistance dogs in the world and all follow-up support is provided free of charge to recipients.
ECAD’s mission is to provide highly-skilled Service Dogs to people living with disabilities to increase their mobility and independence. Dogs are trained to meet the needs of a specific population—from military veterans, persons living with disabilities, and children as young as two on the Autism spectrum.
Founded in 2010, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs trains and places medical service dogs to mitigate the challenges associated with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Traumatic Brain Injury, seizure disorders, glucose imbalance, mobility issues and more. No recipient is ever charged for their service dog.
Their Mission Statement says it all:
- Rescuing, raising, and training the highest caliber medical service/assistance dogs
- Pairing highly trained dogs with individuals afflicted by disabilities, including a focus on veterans with combat wounds
- Building/restoring independence and improving quality of life, for both the recipient and the dog, while minimizing reliance on government, communities, caregivers, and families
- Advancing successful service dog training practices by promoting appropriate trainer education and contributing to related research studies
- Pursuing increased public awareness and education regarding current disability laws and contributing to new/enhanced laws regarding service dogs
With an impressive history that dates back to World War II, the Guide Dog Foundation is accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International, the two international bodies that certify guide and service dog schools. The Foundation provides guide dogs free of charge to” blind people who seek enhanced mobility and independence.” In addition, the Guide Dog Foundation offers extensive public education to improve our society’s understanding of vision, visual impairment, blindness, and disability rights.
Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF)
Since 2001, LDCRF has saved the lives of more than 40,000 homeless pets, most of whom were facing the threat of euthanasia at over-crowded municipal shelters, by finding them forever homes or foster families.
To strengthen disaster response in America, this organization take dogs from a status of “rescued to rescuer” by training and partnering shelter dogs with firefighters and other first responders, at no cost to fire departments. The dogs role: “to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters.” The Foundation ensures lifetime care for every dog so that once rescued, the dog never needs to be rescued again. Thanks to cooperation between counties, cities, and states, these life-saving resources can be shared regionally and nationally to make sure that when disaster strikes, “no one is left behind.”
Paws With A Cause “enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs,” training and providing service dogs to assist those with disabilities; the deaf or hard of hearing; those with epilepsy or other seizure disorders; and children 12 and younger with Autism. Through education and advocacy, the organization also works to increase awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams. Their training program also includes “facility dogs,” trained to work in schools, healthcare facilities, residential care facilities, counseling and mental health settings, senior living homes, and funeral homes.
Paw BVI works to decrease the number of homeless animals by supporting free spaying and neutering services in the British Virgin Islands, and by providing fostering for homeless animals until an adoptive family can be found in the United States. The organization makes it very easy to support their mission by volunteering, making a donation, or serving as an escort. If you will be flying from the BVI to the US as you return from a Caribbean vacation or business trip, reach out to Paw BVI in advance to see how easy it is to be a travel escort.
An organization that began as a local program in Ohio is now a nationwide league of partners dedicated to providing companionship to senior individuals through pet ownership, while saving the lives of companion animals in shelters. The Pets for the Elderly Foundation does this by helping to pay the fees (including pre-adoption veterinary exams and spay/neuter) to participating animal shelters across the United States for anyone age 60 and over who adopts a companion dog or cat.
Pets With Wings is dedicated to transporting as many homeless animals as possible from the Humane Society of Saint Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) to rescue groups, shelters, and potential adopters on the U.S. mainland where there are shortages of adoptable pets. Americans vacationing in the USVI almost always fly into St. Thomas; the next time you are planning a vacation to that part of the Caribbean, use the Pets With Wings website to reach out in advance for information on how you might help. The organization makes it easy!
Warrior Canine Connection uses a “Mission Based Trauma Recovery” model to help warriors recovering from the stress of combat “reconnect with their families, communities, and life.” In an intensive training program with the puppies and young dogs, Warrior Trainers reap the benefits of the physiological and psychological animal-human connection, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that as a result of their efforts, Veterans with disabilities will receive the finest in trained service dogs.
“The average dog has one request to all humankind. Love me!”
— Helen Exley
Thanks, family and friends, for sharing your favorite dog pics for this website.