It is with great pride that I step into the presidency of our foundation. Thank you to our Board of Directors and all the dedicated trustees, directors and volunteers who support Lions Project for Canine Companions for Independence. I hope we have another fantastic year as we work to support Canine Companions for Independence.
We have done a lot over the years. Our fundraising efforts total nearly $3 million. Of course, all the volunteer puppy raisers among us provide a tremendous resource to Canine Companions for Independence, as well as to Lions. We have come a long way in our efforts to educate people everywhere about these great service dogs.
But there is always more to be done! It seems overwhelming at times – there are only so many days in a week for us to work. Demand for service dogs continues to increase as our veterans return from combat in need of assistance dogs. And, of course, our own work of educating people about Canine Companions for Independence creates more awareness and, in turn, more demand.
Don't forget to support the new DogFest Walk N Roll events that Canine Companions will be having across the country. We Lions can form DogFest teams within our clubs or as individuals. Get out and recruit team members!
This spring my wife, Lion Michele, and I have been assisting a group of students at Mary Washington University (Fredericksburg, VA) in getting a Canine Companions for Independence puppy raising club started. Katrina Winsor, Puppy Program Manager at Canine Companions' NE Region, came to explain the program to the Dean of Student Life, Dr. Cedric Rucker, and his staff. The students formed a campus club and went through the process of requesting official status on campus. Lots of behind the scenes work has been done, and in early May we learned that official approval has been granted. This means there will be puppies on campus beginning this September. My hat is off to UMW student Rebekah Selbrede, who is the founder and president of the new puppy raising club. She will be receiving the first Canine Companions puppy in the UMW program. His name is Dragon, and he should arrive in Virginia late in June.
It is work like this that helps Canine Companions for Independence grow. All of us are part of the success. Keep up your dedication. Reach out and help when you can. When good things happen, take some time to step back and enjoy the moment before moving on, because you know there will be more work to be done. But it's work we love doing. Thanks for your dedication; I look forward to working with you!