Former puppy raisers shift focus to battle canine health barriers

A woman sits on a bench with a yellow lab wearing a blue and yellow vest while her husband stands behind the bench and smiles.Gail and Ren Farley first became involved with Canine Companions because they wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. Years later, that decision is paying off in the form of breaking down canine health barriers.

The Shannamore Fund for Canine Health is designed to help cover veterinary expenses for Canine Companions graduates, puppy raisers and dogs in professional training. Once puppy raisers themselves, the Farleys decided to establish the Shannamore Fund in 2021 as a way to continue giving back when raising was no longer an option.

And that’s exactly what it did. In the summer of 2022, a program graduate received more than $4,000 in funding to help cover surgery costs for her service dog, which had been diagnosed with cancer. 

“I had sympathy tears and then I had joyful tears that the Shannamore Fund could help save this team,” said Gail, upon hearing the news. 

Why focus on canine health? Gail explains many people who have a service dog have their own medical bills to pay. Figuring out how to afford veterinary expenses should be one less stressor, she believes.

“The whole point of Canine Companions is to provide it on a basis of need,” says Gail. “Giving a dog on the basis of need and not financial ability is the whole mission, it seems to me.” 

You can learn if a Canine Companions service dog is right for you by clicking here