Annually, August 17th is recognized as National Non-Profit Day. This day is designed to highlight the valuable impact non-profit organizations across the United States play, both in our local communities and across the globe. The date was chosen to coincide with the passing of the Tariff Act into law, which occurred on August 17, 1894; the law provided exemptions for non-profits and charities.
In the United States, charitable giving is on the rise. The generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations is clear to see. An estimated $427.71 billion was donated to U.S. charities in 2018, a rise of 0.7% year-on-year. This is before taking into account the value of volunteer time – Americans volunteered almost seven billion hours in 2018.
At Highland Canine Connect, our work could not take place without the support, time and effort of our squad of volunteers. We continue to be amazed by the generosity of those who have contributed to our cause. Your efforts help to make such a difference to the lives of many people who benefit from our programs. We would like to extend a sincere thank you for the dedication you continue to show!
For those of you who may be new to Highland Canine Connect and are interested in helping our cause, this article is the starting point to learn more about our mission, our goals, and how you can help.
The power of dogs - and how they can help humans
Highland Canine Connect is a 501 (c)(3) organization headquartered in Harmony, NC. Our mission is to transform lives through the power of canine connections, creating fulfilling relationships between dogs and people in need.
To fulfill our mission, of course, dogs are at the heart of everything we do. Dogs are amazing creatures, and the numerous ways they can improve the human way of life is almost unparalleled. Think about just a few of the ways in which man’s best friend is able to help us:
- A service dog who performs tasks to help an individual in their day-to-day lives – such as an autism assistance dog, mobility assistance dog or seizure alert dog
- A police K9 who serves their local community by apprehending suspects or taking drugs off the street
- A therapy dog who provides support and reassurance to children who may have experienced unspeakable suffering
- A search and rescue dog who helps a rescue team to locate missing individuals and return them safely to their families
In terms of the help canines can offer us, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Dogs are able to assist us in so many ways. We are able to utilize their unique capabilities by training them to fit the needs of their handler.
What does our work involve?
We donate fully-trained service dogs to individuals who need a companion to help improve their quality of life. In addition, we also donate working dogs to police or military teams to assist them with their work. Each of these programs are fundamental building blocks of the success of Highland Canine Training, LLC, a professional dog training organization owned by the founder of Highland Canine Connect, Erin Purgason.
We use our wealth of experience and knowledge to train these service dogs and working dogs to perform reliably in any circumstances. They make a huge difference to the individuals and teams they serve, and in the case of working dogs, can help to keep communities safe.
As part of our outreach efforts – in addition to helping to socialize our service dog candidates (socialization is a vital component of a stable service dog) – we also hold events in the local community. This involves going into our local schools for our reading program, which helps young children to read with the comfort and support of one of our lovable dogs at their side! Our volunteers are instrumental in making this program work.
We also team up with local organizations to hold fundraising events. We have partnered with several local businesses and the turnout and support for these events has always been amazing. As you might expect, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult to hold these events in recent months. We are looking forward to being able to hold these events again when it is safe to do so!
Some of our past - and future - service dog and police K9 donations
Although we have only been in operation for a comparatively short amount of time, we have already seen the amazing power of canine connections in some of our service dog and police dog donations.
We donated a service dog, Fergie, to Eli, a 15-year-old high school student from Statesville, NC. Eli was diagnosed with autism at a young age. Fergie was trained to help provide deep-pressure therapy and boost Eli’s confidence in social settings.
Another service dog was donated to Steve Chase, a 9/11 first responder who now resides in Bassett, VA. We’ll be talking more about Steve’s inspirational story in the coming weeks.
In addition, we have also donated two police K9s. Willie is a black Lab who was trained to help remove harmful substances from the local community by detecting narcotics. Meanwhile, Rhys is a bloodhound who has been trained to find missing individuals with the power of his nose.
In the near future, we will be donating a service dog – Otis – to Paige Winter. Paige is a 17-year-old from New Bern, NC, who was attacked by a shark whilst swimming in Atlantic Beach, NC. Otis will help Paige with stability and mobility tasks, making a huge difference to her ease of movement.
Through our partnership with SynergyLabs, we will also be donating two service dogs to North Carolina veterans.
How do volunteers and donations help?
Our programs simply would not be possible without the help and generosity of our volunteer team.
Volunteers help us to organize and run community events. They assist with our School Reading Program by taking our service dogs in training into classrooms and patiently working with young children on their reading skills. We also regularly see our volunteers helping us at community fundraisers taking place at local businesses like coffee shops and bars (a perk of being a volunteer!).
Donations make a huge difference to Highland Canine Connect. It takes over one year to train a service dog to reliably perform specialized tasks. There are costs associated with dog food, training equipment, veterinary care and vaccinations, thousands of hours of socialization in public places, and the cost of the delivery itself.
These costs are inevitable when you are training a service dog. The generous donations we receive help us to offset these costs and continue to deliver our programs.
Do you want to get involved? Here’s how!
There are a few ways you can help us with our mission to improve lives through human-canine connections!
Great organizations are built on great people. Our Volunteer page provides you with more information on how you can help. Although our community visits have been limited recently due to the global pandemic, we will be resuming these when it is safe to do so, and we will need volunteers to help with these projects!
We also want to hear from you if you have professional experience or community links which can help Highland Canine Connect. Serving on a committee and providing your expertise is a great way to further the mission of our non-profit!
If you own a business, we’d love to speak to you about teaming up and holding a fundraising event (when it is safe to do so).
Finally, if you wish to donate financially, please click here to make a quick and secure payment. We are so grateful for any help you can offer and all donations make a huge difference. Our programs would not be possible without them.
On National Non-Profit Day, we’d once again like to extend our thanks to the individuals, businesses and partners who continue to enable Highland Canine Connect to make a difference in our communities!