Since 2015, Henry Schein has partnered with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) to provide puppy raisers with care packages of supplies for service dogs to be.
But the partnership goes much deeper than that. Team Schein has taken the program to heart, with Team Schein Members (TSMs) attending CCI matriculation ceremonies, building care packages, and now, even raising a Canine Companions puppy.
April Oleniczak, a TSM from Orlando, Florida, brought McGuffy the CCI puppy into her home last Spring. Hear from April about her journey to becoming a puppy raiser, and the meaning that she personally finds in the partnership.
Henry Schein Animal Health (HSAH) partners with many different suppliers to fill Puppy Raiser Care Packages with valuable products for the volunteers that raise CCI dogs.
One of these supplier partners is Merial. A couple years ago, I worked as a National Account Manager for Merial, and Davey Stone, HSAH’s Vice President of Special Markets and Sales Services, contacted me to coordinate Merial’s contributions to the kits. This was the first time I learned about Canine Companions for Independence.
In August 2016, I started working at Henry Schein Animal Health and had the opportunity to help package hundreds of puppy raiser kits during a visit to HSAH’s office in Ohio. Taking part in building these kits was the first time I realized the magnitude of puppy raiser care package program.
Shortly after, my neighbor in Orlando introduced us to some friends who are puppy raisers. Bill Gordon, a member of the Board of Directors for the South East Division of CCI, invited us to a graduation ceremony to see a class of CCI puppies begin their role as service dogs.
Attending the graduation was a turning point for me and my husband. On the way home, we decided to volunteer as puppy raisers. Our thoughts were, “God has given us so much. It’s time for us to give back.”
The recipients of the CCI dogs could not live an independent life without them.
When you have an opportunity to talk with the recipients, it changes your world. I met a woman who has cerebral palsy. She was exhausted from riding from Tennessee to Orlando to meet her new dog. She said she was too tired to take off her shirt to get ready for bed, and her dog came over and pulled it off for her. He then proceeded to get her nightgown and help her continue to get ready for bed.
These are actions we take for granted on a daily basis. CCI dogs provide a life that allows people to live by themselves and continue to be independent. The human-animal bond is essential to the well-being of both.
Working at Henry Schein Animal Health, I feel that the culture here reflects the same values that led me to become a puppy raiser.
It feels good to talk about Henry Schein and know that the company values our industry, our environment, and our communities. HSAH was founded with the belief that we can fulfill our corporate responsibilities by giving back to the industries and communities that we serve.
For example, I was amazed by the organizations that were this year’s recipients of the Henry Schein Cares Medal. At our National Sales Meeting, our entire sales force stood and applauded these nonprofits for their efforts to create a better environment in the animal health industry.
Another great example is the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund that was set up to provide necessary supplies to those affected by the recent hurricanes. Together, Henry Schein, its supplier partners, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, and Team Schein Members came together to donate $500,000 in cash and supplies to organizations aiding recovery efforts. Team Schein really came together to provide donations and even get feet on the ground in affected areas to ensure supplies were delivered to help the people and animals in need.
It’s this company culture that makes it a natural fit to be a volunteer puppy raiser.
My fellow Team Schein Members completely support me and my role for CCI. They often ask for photos of McGuffy and always ask how he is doing. They are excited to hear about his accomplishments.
My favorite part of being a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence is knowing that I have an opportunity to give back.
This is unlike donating time or money. I will be giving a piece of my heart and soul to someone who needs McGuffy more.
April Oleniczak is Executive Director of Strategic Accounts for Henry Schein Animal Health
Henry Schein is a proud partner of Canine Companions for Independence. The company provides puppy raisers with care packages filled with supplies to help raise puppies during their first 18 months and works with many of the puppies’ veterinarians. Learn more about the partnership here.