Puppies for a Purpose with John Miller, Episode #22

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Today’s guest on Mitlin Money Mindset™ is John Miller, President, and CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. Under John’s leadership, the nonprofits have seen expansive growth, national recognition, and public awareness. These have resulted in both an upsurge in demand for their services and significant revenue increases. During Miller’s tenure, the organization has placed the most guide and service dogs with people with disabilities in their history. In addition, America’s VetDogs became the home of Sully, service dog to the late President George H.W. Bush. Sully now serves at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a member of the facility dog program.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • What drew John to the nonprofit line of work? [1:54]
  • How many dogs are paired each year and how Covid has affected everything [6:48]
  • Stories of how service dogs change people’s lives [9:20]
  • Who and where the organizations serve [11:43]
  • Ways people can get involved [13:52]
  • How economic conditions are having effects on other areas of the nonprofit? [16:28]
  • What John Miller did today that put him/her in the right mindset for success? [20:33]

How many dogs get paired each year and who gets them?

Somewhere between 120 to 140 dogs a year get paired through Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. At any point in time, there are about 400 dogs in the pipeline at various different stages. While Covid brought the number of pairings down they are still finding ways to get dogs to those who need them. They are working hard to increase the number of dogs being paired with people in need.

Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs are based in New York but they serve the entire United States. Guide Dog serves Canada and Mexico as well but America’s VetDogs is solely for US Veterans. They have staff across the country that works remotely. They work to place the dogs and then to provide a free lifetime of aftercare.

Dogs change the lives of the person and the family they are paired with

Very early in John’s tenure, there was a veteran who came in from the Maryland area and was very withdrawn and somewhat standoffish with the staff and the other people that were there to get dogs. Fast forward about a year and a half later when John had the opportunity to meet the gentleman to do a press event in Washington.

John was somewhat apprehensive about doing the press event when he found out who it was with because he didn’t want to put this gentleman in a position he didn’t want to be in. But they did the press event and John learned that getting a dog completely transformed this man’s life and the life of his family. He was on about 13 different medications when he came to get a dog, he’s down to two now. He credits it all to getting a service dog and putting his relationship back together with his wife and their family and he is a totally different person.

Getting involved with Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs

Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs use volunteers at all levels so there is a great need for your help. Whether it’s general office work, helping to fundraise, or running special events everything they do is free of charge, even a lifetime of free aftercare for dog recipients. They have to raise a lot of money to do all of that.

On the program side, puppy raising is one of the most popular things and one of the things that is needed the most from volunteers. You can sign up to do that for a couple of weeks, in chunks, as a temporary person or you could actually take the dog for almost a year and you’ll work with it on puppy classes and basic obedience so by the time the dog is ready to come in for it’s the training they already have a good base.

So puppy raising and fundraising are probably the two most critical areas where volunteers are needed. If you decide to volunteer, drop us a line and let us know!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with John Miller

President and CEO John Miller joined the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs as president and CEO in March 2018. Under his leadership, the nonprofits have seen an expansive growth in national recognition and public awareness, resulting in both an upsurge in demand for their services and significant revenue increases. In fiscal year 2019, the organizations placed the most guide and service dogs with people with disabilities in their history.

During Miller’s tenure, America’s VetDogs became the home of Sully, service dog to the late President George H.W. Bush. (Sully now serves at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a member of the facility dog program.) The Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs also continued their collaboration with the NBC “puppies with a purpose” program on the TODAY show in New York and four other puppies raised at NBC affiliates across the country.

Further, the organizations have formed new partnerships with professional sports teams across the United States, including the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals (hockey); Houston Texans (football); and Atlanta United (soccer). America’s VetDogs has also worked with NBC Sports and the NHL to create “The Stanley Pup.”

Miller has fostered a structure for open and transparent communication with all constituencies, and instituted an organization-wide platform of role and goal clarity, empowerment, and responsibility so everyone can meet goals and have the largest impact on the consumers served by the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs.

Previously, Miller was the national president and CEO of the Tourette Association of America (TAA). Prior to TAA, he served with honor and distinction as CEO of the American Red Cross on Long Island, which included overseeing local responses to high-impact national events including Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, the two largest disasters in recent Long Island history. He has been recognized nationally for his strong leadership and has been acknowledged as one of the most influential businessmen on Long Island, including being named winner of the Certilman Balin Leadership Excellence Award held by the Long Island Imagine Awards.

 

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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