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December 8, 2013

Former Dodger pitcher joins Southwest Region Board of Directors for Canine Companions for Independence

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The following information was released by Canine Companions for Independence.

San Clemente resident Joe Moeller, Advance Scout for the Miami Marlins and former Major League Baseball Pitcher, has joined the Southwest Region Board of Directors for Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

“We are honored to have Joe on our team at Canine Companions,” says Barbara Barrow, Southwest Region Executive Director of Canine Companions. “No matter what Joe does, he advocates for Canine Companions. His passion and enthusiasm for our cause, combined with his professional and personal connections, are wonderful benefits to our organization.”

Joe signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers straight out of high school in 1960. At 19, he was the youngest pitcher ever to start a game for the team. He pitched in the Major Leagues for eight years and has worked in various capacities in the sport ever since. Joe has been with the Marlins for the past 15 years.

Joe’s passion for baseball is only equaled by his passion for Canine Companions. Joe and his wife, Trudy, have been volunteers, fundraisers and advocates for Canine Companions for about six years. “I cannot think of a better place for Trudy and I to give of our time and energy,” says Joe. “Canine Companions is a perfect fit for us because of our love of dogs and our desire to help people with disabilities.”

If you’re at the airport, keep your eye out for a 6’6” man with a Canine Companions shirt! Joe travels about six months per year for business and he always wears his Canine Companions logo gear. “The shirt gives me a great platform to talk about Canine Companions when people ask,” explains Joe. “It’s fun to talk about Canine Companions with people I run into at the ball parks, on the plane and even with the other scouts!” Joe even carries a photo book about Canine Companions that he and Trudy compiled to share with people he meets. As a result, Joe has introduced his favorite non-profit organization to countless individuals including MLB players and staff now eager to support the cause.

Canine Companions holds quarterly graduation ceremonies in which people with disabilities formally receive their assistance dogs after completing two weeks of training.

“At each graduation, Trudy and I are so touched by the graduates’ stories of how their assistance dogs have changed their lives,” explains Joe.

Joe’s fellow board member, Lance Weir, is also a Canine Companions client. The former Marine Corps Reservist is now partnered with his second service dog. Lance has a spinal cord injury.

“Seeing the difference Service Dog Auggie has made in Lance’s life makes every effort I make on behalf of Canine Companions worth it,” says Joe.

Canine Companions assistance dogs are trained in approximately forty commands designed to make everyday life easier for adults and children with physical and developmental disabilities. They open and close doors, retrieve dropped objects and activate light switches.

Outside of physical tasks, Canine Companions assistance dogs provide immeasurable emotional benefits to their human partners. They are the best friends of children who are socially isolated because of their disabilities and they encourage peer interaction when kids want to meet “the cool dog.” In adults, Canine Companions assistance dogs inspire feelings of confidence and security, allowing graduates to live life to the fullest.

Canine Companions is able to provide assistance dogs for people with disabilities completely free of charge, thanks to the efforts of volunteers and the financial support of generous donors.

About Canine Companions for Independence

Canine Companions for Independence provides highly trained assistance dogs to children and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has five regional training centers across the country, including a facility in Oceanside. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. There is no charge for the dog, training and ongoing follow-up services. For more information, visit or call 1-800-572-BARK.

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