Canine Companions for Independence
4989 State Route 37 East
Delaware OH 43015
Skilled Companion team Jack & Mitchell IV
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (740) 833-3700
Fax 740- 363-0555
Mission Statement
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Paul Mundell
Board Chair Mr. Tom Clements
Board Chair Company Affiliation L Brands (Retired)
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1975
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer

There are may ways to support Canine Companions. You can donate by mail with a check, by phone or online with a credit card. Canine Companions accepts in-kind gifts, planned giving, monthly giving, workplace giving, employer matched giving and stock donations. Donors who remember Canine Companions in their estate plans are honored through our Heritage Society. 

Volunteer opportunities are ongoing through Canine Companions' Kansas City Volunteer Chapter. This group consists of an extremely dedicated group of volunteers and volunteer puppy raisers from the greater Kansas City area. The Chapter holds regular meetings at local libraries and plans local fundraisers to benefit Canine Companions. Volunteer experiences with the Chapter include presentations and awareness events within the community. Visit for more information.
Volunteers are also able to support the organization by becoming a Volunteer Puppy Raiser. The 16-18 month commitment includes providing a safe environment for a puppy, submitting monthly progress reports, attending approved obedience classes, teaching the puppy manners and basic commands and providing the puppy with age appropriate socialization opportunities.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.
Background Statement

Canine Companions is the oldest and largest assistance dog organization in the country. Canine Companions breeds, raises and trains assistance dogs and provides them to people with disabilities free of charge. Volunteer breeder caretakers and puppy raisers care for the dogs from the day they are born until they are approximately 16 months old. The dogs are then returned to Canine Companions for professional training where staff instructors teach the dogs over 40 task based commands in order to become an assistance dog. Canine Companions’ recipients attend a two-week Team Training session where they are matched with their assistance dog and learn to effectively work together. Following graduation, Canine Companions’ program staff provide in-person follow-up services throughout the entire partnership.

Canine Companions trains and places four types of assistance dogs:
  • Service Dogs are partnered with adults with disabilities to assist with tasks and increase independence.
  • Skilled Companions are trained to perform tasks for an adult or child with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator.
  • Hearing Dogs are trained to recognize and respond to environmental sounds by alerting their deaf or hard of hearing partner.
  • Facility Dogs are highly trained and trustworthy dogs partnered with a facilitator who directly serves clients with special needs.
Impact Statement
Canine Companions places “Exceptional Dogs with Exceptional People.” We provide assistance dogs, at no charge, to individuals with disabilities to increase their independence and decrease their reliance on others.
2017 Accomplishments: 
  • 30-35 active volunteers with the Kansas City Volunteer Chapter.
  • 11 placements with people with disabilities in the Kansas City area.
  • 13 volunteer puppy raisers in the Kansas City area.

2018 Goals:
  • 60 placements in the North Central Region.
  • 180 graduate follow-up visits.
  • 110 puppies placements in homes of volunteers.
  • Future plans for a campaign to build a campus to mirror the other regions across the country.
Needs Statement

The need continues to grow to provide people with disabilities an avenue of independence other than reliance on others. Canine Companions addresses this need by providing people with disabilities a means to increase confidence, independence, motivation and the opportunity to focus on living their lives to the fullest. Each placement between a recipient and assistance dog enhances their lives by utilizing the task based commands the dogs have learned to assist them with daily activities.

Program needs:
  • Volunteer puppy raisers
  • Volunteers/advocates to raise awareness throughout the North Central Region
Service Categories
Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations
Animal Training
Areas of Service
KS - Johnson County
MO - Jackson County
KS - Atchison County
KS - Fort Bend
KS - Franklin County
KS - Lawrence
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
MO - Buchanan
MO - Caldwell
MO - Cass County
MO - Clay County
MO - Clinton
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
MO - Lafayette
MO - Liberty
MO - Platte County
MO - Ray
MO - Ray County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
"I am honored to serve as president of the North Central Regional Board for Canine Companions for Independence. I became involved when a friend received his service dog and I was able to learn first hand the importance that this organization does for so many. The impact our dogs have goes way beyond the individual they are servicing; they change lives and perceptions with everyone they come into contact with, and we provide these dogs free of charge.
There are many non-profit organizations out there that do good things to help change lives for those less fortunate, and we are no different in that we need to raise funds to help meet our goals. The Board is working with our Executive Director in developing a broader approach of getting the positive word out about our mission and leveraging our Board members for Canine Companions for Independence. We have targeted seven key cities, Kansas City is included, in our region to better organize the volunteer base, establish programs for grassroots fundraising and help identify key organizations and businesses in the area that share the same passion for our mission." 
- Tom Clements, North Central Region Board President
The breeding program is located in Santa Rosa, CA and uses Labrador and Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds. Canine Companions puppies are born in the homes of breeder caretakers and they care for them for eight weeks. The puppies are returned to Canine Companions where they receive their initial health check and first round of vaccinations. They are then sent to the six regions where they are picked up by volunteer puppy raisers.
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Training
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short-Term Success Canine Companions' Canine Early Development Center opened in October 2015 to house breeder dogs and puppies that are cared for by Canine Companions' veterinary staff. This center is instrumental in the growth of the breeding program as it allows for more breeder dogs and puppies to enter the program.
Long-Term Success

Breeder dogs and their puppies are the foundation of our program. The number of assistance dogs that can be paired with people with disabilities is determined by how many puppies are born in a given year. In order to support more recipients the capacity of the breeding program must be increased. 

Program Success Monitored By Canine Companions' breeding program is highly respected in the international assistance dog arena. A benefit of having our own breeding program is that it produces the ideal temperament for assistance dogs. The success of the breeding program is monitored by Canine Companions' own staff experts. Annual goals are established each year for the number of litters born and the number of puppy births. 
Examples of Program Success A puppy's experiences during the first 16 months of life strongly influence what kind of companion he will grow to be and how he will react to different environments and social interaction. Volunteer breeder caretakers play an important role in influencing the future of the puppies through socialization opportunities within their homes. Volunteer breeder caretakers start from day one working with the puppies and report immense feelings of pride and satisfaction in seeing Canine Companions' breeders produce pups with a purpose.
Volunteer puppy raisers raise a Canine Companions' puppy in their home for approximately 16 months. Puppy raisers provide Canine Companions' puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, provide for dietary needs, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love. Each hour spent caring for a Canine Companions' puppy is vital to its development as a future assistance dog. The puppy raising program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to assist with and be a part of our mission. There are 13 active volunteer puppy raisers in the Kansas City area.
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Training
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short-Term Success Volunteer puppy raisers are tasked with the important role of socializing puppies and teaching puppies basic commands. Canine Companions' puppies need to experience a variety of sights, sounds, smells and situations so they can be confident to take on the tasks expected of them as a working assistance dog.
Long-Term Success

Canine Companions' puppy program is only designed to provide each puppy with a safe, secure and enriching upbringing, regardless of what the future may hold. Dogs that do graduate to become assistance dogs are able to do so, in part, because of the support they received from puppy raisers during their developmental stages.

Program Success Monitored By

Volunteer puppy raisers are supported by Canine Companions' program staff and are required to submit monthly reports to track the puppy's progress. Documentation of the puppy's progress, challenges and successes allows Canine Companions' staff to detect if additional support is needed. Success is monitored by puppy placement goals that are established each year by the national headquarters.

Examples of Program Success

When you become one of our volunteer puppy raisers, you become part of an extraordinary community. It’s a unique group of individuals with the same purpose to help support the mission of Canine Companions. One volunteer said, "I thought I could never raise a puppy because I couldn't give them up. Now I'm raising my 14th puppy for Canine Companions."

After the puppy raiser returns the dog to Canine Companions at approximately 16 months of age, the dog receives six to nine months of professional training with staff instructors at the North Central Regional Training Center. The first two weeks, dogs are screened, undergo x-rays and medical tests as well as tests to evaluate their temperaments. Some dogs are released at this point mostly due to temperament concerns. The other dogs continue training to learn to complete 40 commands in order to become a certified assistance dog.
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Training
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short-Term Success Dogs in professional training learn the commands that prepare them to become Canine Companions' assistance dogs. Some commands include turning light switches on and off, picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors and alerting to environmental sounds. The dogs also work to get comfortable around the wheelchair and other equipment our recipients might use.
Long-Term Success

The tasks the dogs learn in professional training ultimately help people with disabilities to live more independent lives. Canine Companions' dogs are all receive the same training in order to ensure that they can work with any recipient. 

Program Success Monitored By

Canine Companions' program staff works one on one everyday with the dogs in professional training. They keep detailed reports as to their progress, including each dog's strengths and weaknesses. Less than half of dogs who enter professional training receive certification to become an assistance dog due to Canine Companions' high standards and criteria.

Examples of Program Success

Canine Companions' professional trainers undergo a three year apprenticeship in order to become an instructor. After completing the requirements of the apprenticeship and passing extensive certification tests, the apprentice instructor may advance to full instructor. One of our instructors said: "I feel fortunate to work with Canine Companions where I have the personal fulfillment of knowing that I am helping people everyday."

Description Four times a year candidates on the wait list are invited to attend Team Training, an intensive two-week session where they are matched with their assistance dog and learn to effectively work together. After the training session and public access testing, they attend a public graduation ceremony in which the puppy raiser passes the leash to the graduate and they officially receive their assistance dog.
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short-Term Success Recipients are matched with Canine Companions' assistance dogs based off of the tasks the recipients are looking for the dog to complete. Canine Companions' program staff has been working with an applicant for two years determining their exact needs before they are invited to Team Training. Simultaneously, program staff has been working with the dogs and know their individual strengths. This allows for program staff to make placements that they are confident will be successful.
Long-Term Success The information the recipients receive throughout Team Training sets up the foundation for the human assistance dog partnership to be as successful as possible following graduation.
Program Success Monitored By

Each year, the national headquarters determines goals for the number of placements between recipients and assistance dogs for each region. When these goals are met, this provides measurable results. 

Examples of Program Success When the applicants arrive for Team Training it is often with anxiety and trepidation, but also with excitement as they anticipate their placement with a Canine Companions' assistance dog. Throughout the session there are written exams, lectures, field trips and lots of practice. The instructors work closely with each candidate to ensure their successful completion of Team Training. One recipients' mother said, "all the staff are fantastic at what they do. They were able to assist me and my son, every need no matter what the circumstances were."
Canine Companions has a comprehensive follow-up program to ensure the ongoing success of its working teams. Canine Companions' program staff maintains close contact with each graduate on an ongoing basis in the form of emails, phone calls and personal visits.
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short-Term Success Follow up visits with graduates allow instructors to evaluate the continued success of the placement, adjust any concerns that may exist, ensure the dog is healthy and add new commands, if needed. 
Long-Term Success

Canine Companions assistance dogs are trained to provide greater independence for people with disabilities. Each Canine Companions' assistance dog placement helps improve the life of a person with a disability by promoting their independence, productivity and confidence. They use the assistance dog's skills to perform everyday tasks that most of us take for granted and empower key changes such as re-entering the workforce, enrolling in school and improve social interaction within the community.

Program Success Monitored By Goals for the number of follow-up visits made each year are established by the national headquarters. Canine Companions' staff works to follow-up regularly with graduate teams. Input from the graduates allows Canine Companions to make changes and improvements to the programs as needed.
Examples of Program Success

When Emily got the call inviting her to Team Training at the North Central Training Center, her initial reaction wasn't one of joy. “The embarrassing thought that came into my mind was that having a service dog would be another accessory to add to my arsenal of things that make me stand out,” she explains. “I already have a wheelchair, trach with occasional ventilator and sometimes a brace on my hand. It felt like a lot for people to take in as is and adding a dog to the mix felt over the top.” But Emily chose to ignore those feelings and she is so thankful she did. Emily explains, “My service dog, Dash II, has done exact opposite of what I feared. He has not added to my ‘disability accessories,’ he has actually detracted from them!”

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Paul Mundell
Term Start Dec 2014
Paul Mundell joined Canine Companions in 1989 as an instructor in the Northeast Region after studying at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat Heidelberg in Germany.  He later became the Northeast Region executive director. He held the role as national director of canine programs for 17 years, making far-reaching and critically important contributions to the profile of the ideal Canine Companions assistance dog, and is today an internationally recognized authority in the field of canine genetics and behavior.
Former CEOs
Corey HudsonJuly 1990 - Dec 2014
Senior Staff
Title Executive Director

Megan Koester is the executive director of Canine Companions for Independence North Central Region. She is responsible for the management of the 14 state region, in addition to the development department, program department and the administrative department. Her main focus is to develop strategic partnerships that will provide the funding necessary to fulfill the Canine Companions mission. Megan has over 14 years of non-profit development and management experience and prior to joining Canine Companions she worked as the senior director of Development at Ronald McDonald House Charities. During her tenure, Ronald McDonald House became a top of the mind charity in Central Ohio and completed a capital campaign to become the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world.

Title Program Manager & Instructor

Gwen Dudek is the program manager responsible for all aspects of the training and care of the dogs at Canine Companions. Gwen first started at Canine Companions as the kennel supervisor, completed a three-year apprenticeship, which includes learning dog handling skills and working with people with disabilities. She has worked her way to the top in her current role. Gwen graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science. She has been with Canine Companions for 22 years.


Laurel Marks is the development director and has been with Canine Companions for six years. Prior to joining Canine Companions, Laurel was the associate development director for The Buckeye Ranch and spent the previous seven years working for Acloché Staffing as Vice President of Community Affairs. Laurel has served as president of the alumnae board at her Alma Mater, Columbus School for Girls. Laurel has over 15 years of non-profit development and board association experience.

Paid Full-Time Staff 20
Volunteers 300
Retention Rate 100%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
On a national level, Canine Companions collaborates with Assistance Dogs International (ADI), Lions Clubs, General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC), Prudential, Eukanuba, Petsmart, Dognition, Mattress Discounters, Swackett, Ballard Designs, Duke University, The Buck Institute, Emory University, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, and Baylor Scott & White Health. Regionally, Canine Companions collaborates with The Columbus Foundation.
Assistance Dogs International (ADI)1978
CEO Comments

In October 2014, Assistance Dogs International, an association of non-profit assistance dog organizations, announced a new president for its North American organization.  Paul Mundell, who is currently CEO at Canine Companions for Independence, took over the helm to guide the coalition that provides education about assistance dogs, advocates for the legal rights of people with disabilities partnered with assistance dogs, and sets standards and guidelines for assistance dog training.

"I'm pleased to assist the members of Assistance Dogs International in increasing public education and strengthening their organizations' skills and standards in order to provide people with disabilities a highly-trained assistance dog,” states Mundell. 

Paul has made far-reaching and critically important contributions to the profile of the ideal Canine Companions assistance dog, and is today a nationally and internationally recognized authority in the field of canine genetics and behavior. Paul’s particular focuses include breeding and selection, training and behavior, and developing and improving the puppy raising program.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Tom Clements
Company Affiliation L Brands (Retired)
Term Aug 2016 to Aug 2018
Board Members
Todd BaileyHuntington Bank
Tom ClementsRetired
Mike CvengrosCardinal Health
Tom FlynnHillcrest Memorial Park
Carolyn HrachVolunteer Puppy Raiser
Brenda PerkinsMetLife Auto & Home
Nancy RiggsOhioHealth
Rex Riggs DVMBest Friends Veterinary Clinic
Peter SchwabPiper Jaffray
Dave Van StoneRadio Ohio Incorporated
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 90%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
CEO Comments Canine Companions' financials reflect those of the national organization, made up of six regions across the country. Financials specific to the North Central Region can be provided upon request. 
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $1,912,452
Projected Expenses $1,821,596
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990 for the national organization.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
  • The Regional Financials can be found in the 'Other Documents' tab of their profile.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$84,999$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,236,373$955,706($866,512)
Membership Dues$0--$0
Special Events$2,903,428$2,692,049$2,581,437
Revenue In-Kind$0--$268,540
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$19,005,419$16,699,767$14,872,910
Administration Expense$1,660,152$1,437,705$1,312,196
Fundraising Expense$5,520,117$5,126,134$5,084,097
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.191.371.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses73%72%70%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$71,349,587$64,681,007$56,352,754
Current Assets$21,860,314$24,613,522$16,567,605
Long-Term Liabilities$45,643$40,473$382,211
Current Liabilities$3,171,894$2,145,056$2,385,854
Total Net Assets$68,132,050$62,495,478$53,584,689
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.8911.476.94
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%1%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Individual Donor $100,000Anonymous $1,536,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Advanced Drainage Systems $59,000Anonymous $900,575
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation $50,000Anonymous $858,989
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Other Documents
North Central Regional Budget2016View
Organization Name Canine Companions for Independence
Address 4989 State Route 37 East
Delaware, OH 43015
Primary Phone (740) 833-3700
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Paul Mundell
Board Chair Mr. Tom Clements
Board Chair Company Affiliation L Brands (Retired)
Year of Incorporation 1975