a row of yellow lab puppies in yellow puppy capes sitting in a field

Gulf Coast Chapter

Canine Companions
South Central Region


Formed in 2018, the Gulf Coast Volunteer Chapter is comprised of volunteers, puppy raisers and graduate teams serving Houston and the surrounding areas. Gulf Coast Volunteer Chapter members actively support Canine Companions through community awareness, outreach activities and fundraising. We are positioned to do great things for Canine Companions and the clients the organization serves! Join us if you would like to volunteer your time and talents to training Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People®.


If you’re looking for deeper engagement as a Canine Companions volunteer, we encourage you to get involved with our chapter. The Gulf Coast Volunteer Chapter is an extension of the South Central Regional Training Center. We work to raise awareness, recruit new puppy raisers and volunteers and support one another’s work on behalf of the Canine Companions mission. If you are interested in volunteering with our chapter, contact us. We’d love to meet you! 

Please fill out our contact form below and a Canine Companions representative will be in touch.

Learn more about volunteering opportunities.


Gulf Coast Volunteer Chapter Meetings

Come out to our chapter meetings where we will discuss ways to support the organization we all love and learn how to get involved within our chapter as a volunteer or supporter.Assistance dog stands next to person in wheelchair

Join Canine Companions staff, volunteers, graduates and puppy raisers for our Gulf Coast Volunteer Chapter meetings in Houston! Learn more about how you can support the mission of providing assistance dogs to people with disabilities free of charge and give a dog a job. At our meetings, we discuss ways you can support the organization we all love and show you how you can get involved as a volunteer or supporter.

Check back for information about 2022 meetings.

Events in the South Central Region


A woman kneeling with a yellow service dog and a yellow puppy


Samantha Martinez

Samantha joined the Canine Companions community after she became the “udda mudda” for Facility Dog Dexter who works with Christy at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Samantha is a transplant to Texas and moved here from Southern California in 2012. She currently works for enCourage Kids Foundation who is on a mission to make hospitals a better place to get better. She has seen firsthand the impact Canine Companions service dogs have and looks forward to raising awareness and creating a vibrant Canine Companions community here in the Gulf Coast.

A woman crouching next to a black dog

Vice President

Renee Lee

Renee learned about Canine Companions after becoming Facility Dog Dexter’s “Aunt Nae” and puppy sitter. Renee is a certified child life specialist on the surgical trauma unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and graduated with Facility Dog Pilot in September 2021. Renee has completed research in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and is excited to bring this passion for DEI to the Canine Companions community at the Gulf Coast Regional Chapter.

Man in Canine Companions logo shirt sits on a bench smiling


Jordan Lee

Jordan joined the Canine Companions community after his wife, Renee, became a Facility Dog Handler at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. He works as a financial consultant for Alvarez and Marsal. Jordan is excited to combine his love for dogs and service for others with his background in finance and accounting as the treasurer for the Gulf Coast Volunteer Chapter.

A woman sitting in front of a fireplace with a golden puppy

Communications Coordinator

Ashlyn Parkurst

Ashlyn discovered Canine Companions through her friend, Renee. Ashlyn is a second-year student at McGovern Medical School. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, Ashlyn was involved with the ACCESS Program of Mississippi State that promotes independent living and career development through postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual/ developmental disabilities. Canine Companions is an awesome way for Ashlyn to continue to help promote independence for all.

Woman sits next to a yellow lab service dog in blue vest

Puppy Outreach Coordinator

Mary Patterson

Mary has been a puppy raiser for Canine Companions since 2018 when she was got her first puppy, Iago II (now Yago). Yago was matched with a veteran and was recently the “best dog” in his wedding. Her second puppy, Wendelin, is expected to move on to professional training this year. After retiring from teaching middle school science for 34 years, she is excited to have new “students” to teach! Mary enjoys traveling and has met others in the Canine Companions community while traveling to California.

Woman crouches next to a yellow lab service dog in blue vest

Graduate Liaison

Christy Lange

Christy graduated with Facility Dog Dexter in February 2019. She works as a certified child life specialist at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Together, Christy and Dexter help kids to meet their medical goals. Christy gets to see Dexter’s impact on a daily basis and while she loved her job before, cannot imagine doing it without a dog by her side. Christy is passionate about helping anyone interested in a facility dog achieve that goal and growing the community of graduates in the Gulf Coast area.

Older man and woman sit on an out door staircase, holding a black lab puppy in yellow puppy vest

Puppy Outreach Committee

Charlene "Chicky" Fowler

Being retired and looking for meaningful activities, it pays to listen to your grandchildren! At their youngest granddaughter’s urging, Corky and Chicky Fowler became puppy raisers in 2011. They were hooked. Five puppies and 10 years later, puppy raising is still the best volunteer job in the world. Puppies #1 Hawthorne, #2 Devon and #4 Glee are working in important jobs. Puppies #3 Abel and #5 Windsor are change of career dogs and now help with puppy sitting and play dates while keeping current on their training and commands.