The PenFed Foundation partners with Canine Companions to help more veterans get life-changing service dogs

National campaign addresses urgent need for more volunteer puppy raisers

TYSONS, Va., Jan. 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The PenFed Foundation, a national 501(c)3 founded by PenFed Credit Union, announces a groundbreaking partnership with Canine Companions to help provide more service dogs to veterans and others with a disability. The nationwide campaign is focused on recruiting more volunteer puppy raisers and encouraging more corporations to allow their employees to raise service dogs in the workplace. Canine Companions’ Pilot, a 10-week-old yellow Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, is the face of the new initiative. He’s being raised by PenFed Foundation President Andrea McCarren, her sixth future service dog in training.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the extraordinary healing power of service dogs,” said McCarren. “Service dogs save lives and there’s never been a greater demand. The PenFed Foundation felt compelled to partner with Canine Companions to address the urgent need for more volunteers to raise puppies and help shorten the wait time for those in need. We also want to highlight the transformative, positive impact on a workplace when an employee raises a service dog.” 

Canine Companions is the nation’s premier service dog organization. Founded in 1975, it has already placed more than 8,000 dogs. The organization provides these highly trained service dogs free of charge, but the current wait time to receive one of these dogs can be up to two years.

“Canine Companions is grateful to The PenFed Foundation for this important initiative to increase awareness regarding the need for volunteers across the country to raise future service dogs,” said Canine Companions CEO Paige Mazzoni. “Our expertly trained service dogs begin their journey with volunteers before attending professional training at one of our seven locations. This initiative will help expand our community of support and ultimately help us achieve our goals to create more independence for our injured military veterans, other adults and children with disabilities.”

PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck introduced the Canine Companions puppy raising program to his employees in 2018. Since then, he’s supported his employees raising nine service dogs at PenFed financial centers across the country.

“Having puppies with such a life changing mission in the workplace builds a culture of kindness and respect. It increases morale, lowers blood pressure and encourages employees to work from the office,” said Schenck. “It’s a wonderful way to give back to those who served and have employees work together to accomplish a meaningful goal.”  

Service dogs can only be raised and trained one at a time, and their journey begins with dedicated volunteer puppy raisers. These volunteers play a crucial role socializing the pups from eight weeks of age until 18 months, when they return to Canine Companions for professional training. No formal dog training experience is required to become a puppy raiser. To learn more, go to:

Follow Pilot’s journey on The PenFed Foundation’s social media channels. A dropbox link with videos and photos of Pilot can be found here.

About PenFed Foundation

 Founded in 2001, The PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that supports veterans in their transition from service to success. Supported by PenFed Credit Union, the Foundation has provided more than $50 million in financial support to veterans, active-duty service members and military families. The credit union funds the Foundation’s operating costs so 95% of incoming donations go directly to its programs. To learn more, please visit

About Canine Companions

Canine Companions transforms the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities by providing expertly trained service dogs that assist with practical tasks, as well as provide unconditional love and acceptance—free of charge. This powerful relationship leads to increased independence, self-esteem and inclusion for a person with a disability. Established in 1975, Canine Companions is a nonprofit 501(c)3 and has six training centers across the country serving all 50 states. Learn more at or call 1-800-572-BARK. 

SOURCE PenFed Foundation

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