36 Years of Breeding Puppies with a Purpose

Canine Companions for Independence® veterinarian honored with CVMA Meritorious Service Award

Veterinarian standing next to puppy on an exam table

SANTA ROSA, California—It takes a special person to spend 36 years on-call day and night, 365 days a year, even if it’s for the sake of very important puppies. For Dr. Ruth Daniels, breeding veterinarian at Canine Companions®, every specially bred puppy born in the home of a volunteer breeder caretaker was celebrated as a potential future assistance dog that could change the life of a person with a disability. Dr. Ruth Daniels has been recognized for her years of service by receiving the 2019 California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Meritorious Service Award.

About Dr. Ruth

Dr. Ruth, as she is affectionately known, earned her veterinary medicine degree from UC Davis in 1970, later adding a masters in genetics. She joined Canine Companions’ veterinary department in 1982.

In the late 1980s, Canine Companions established an internal breeding program. Dr. Ruth worked with training staff to select dogs with the most desirable health and temperaments to become breeder dogs. Her statistical expertise allowed the organization to continually improve the selection and breeding decisions to provide the healthiest assistance dogs. After a long and fruitful career, Dr. Ruth handed off the ultrasound wand and retired earlier this year.

About the award

The Meritorious Service Award honors a veterinarian or practice in the state of California who has provided extraordinary service on behalf of animals, the veterinary profession, or people who celebrate the human-animal bond.

“We could not have accomplished thousands of life-changing placements without Dr. Ruth’s vision for the breeding program so many years ago,” says Dr. Brenda Kennedy, director of canine health and research at Canine Companions. “I cannot think of a veterinarian who is more deserving of this award than Dr. Ruth Daniels. She has devoted her professional career of service to celebrating and cultivating the human-animal bond.” Dr. Ruth has provided veterinary care for thousands of Canine Companions service dogs as well as being on-call to ensure that dogs and puppies in her care never lack for veterinary advice or support.