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Fortera Credit Union Exemplifies Well-Being for Others by Helping to Train Service Dog

Meet Patience, a very special member of the Fortera family. Chief ambassador of Fortera’s “Stay Pawsitive and Have Fun” core value, she also has a very important job as a future service dog in training.

Patience’s handler, Megan McWilliams, is a Fortera team member and a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions. This national non-profit organization provides expertly trained service dogs at no cost to enhance the independence of children, adults and veterans with disabilities. Patience is the fifth service puppy-in-training that Megan has raised.

Fortera passionately advocates to improve the well-being of lives and is proud to support Megan and Patience in their mission. Patience joined the Fortera team at 8 weeks of age and comes to work with Megan each day to learn socialization and obedience skills.

“These amazing dogs create a ripple effect with every person they encounter. Being able to be a part of their journey leaves an everlasting impact and is one of the most rewarding roles I’ve ever had. Even from an early age, they are creating awareness and teaching people the importance of their future role. I raise to be able to give the gift of independence to an individual someday,” shared Megan.

Having a dog on site has also impacted the credit union staff.

“Patience has had a tremendous impact on our team’s morale,” said Jennifer Ventimiglia, president and CEO of Fortera. “Her playful energy and unwavering spirit – Patience has not only brought smiles and laughter – but acts as a daily reminder of the power of compassion and the importance of making a difference in the lives of others. She has undoubtedly left a pawprint on our hearts.”

Canine Companions service dogs are highly trained to perform practical tasks that assist individuals with physical disabilities. Some of those tasks include:*

  • retrieve and deliver dropped items;
  • tug to open a door or drawer;
  • pull a laundry basket, or help with a sock or jacket;
  • push with their nose to shut a drawer;
  • open a door with an automatic push plate;
  • pull a lightweight manual wheelchair over a short distance; and
  • turn lights on and off. Service dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing have a different skill set, primarily involving alerting and orienting recipients to sound.

To learn more about Canine Companions, visit their website at and visit for updates on Patience’s very special journey at Fortera.

*Information about Canine Companions service dog training is adapted from

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