About the author: Jenny Massey is co-founder of FairWinds Advisors and Director of Sikich Site Selection & Incentives. 

Entrepreneurship is hard. And stressful. And lonely. And it doesn’t always work out even with the best of efforts. 

But when it does pay off, say, with a TechPoint Mira Award nomination, I believe it’s worth doing more than saying congratulations in a tweet or a post or a text. Since 2015, I’ve been recognizing my clients who have earned the prestigious and elusive Mira award nominations with a visit from a therapy dog from the Indiana Canine Assistance Network (ICAN.) 

These visits have been so joyfully received that I can say with confidence that it’s left an indelible paw print on many hearts, including mine.

ICAN was founded in 2002, as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing highly skilled service dogs to individuals with disabilities. The amazing team there specializes in training assistance dogs for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities, as well as for children with disabilities. Just as these furry visitors help people with disabilities, they offer solace and support to people navigating the tumultuous journey of building a company. 

Therapy dogs have long been known to help soothe humans. They possess a remarkable ability to uplift and comfort, especially in times of heightened stress. I work with founders and entrepreneurs every day, so I witness firsthand the ups and downs of those professionals and their teams. When I first learned how helpful ICAN dogs have been to so many, it made sense to me that I had an opportunity to infuse a bit of joy into the entrepreneurial journey, making the road a little less daunting and a lot more joyful. 

Tying it to the Mira Awards made even more sense. Presented by TechPoint, the Mira Awards represent the pinnacle of achievement in Indiana’s tech industry. They celebrate innovation, excellence and the tireless efforts of individuals and companies pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.  

Such an achievement deserves a big acknowledgement. A visit with an ICAN dog is a great way to honor the hard work, dedication and resilience of those being recognized with some fun, puppy kisses and stress relief. 

The response has been nothing short of extraordinary. From the delighted smiles of Mira nominees, it would seem the presence of therapy dogs has become a cherished highlight of the awards season. Beyond the immediate joy they bring, these furry ambassadors serve as a reminder of the importance of community, compassion and giving back. 

It’s offered such a positive impact that several close friends, family and I want to offer the broader community a way to participate.  A plan is now open to crowdfund the sponsorship of a puppy, Puppy Mira is the name I’m suggesting, ensuring that more individuals can benefit from the therapeutic bond these dogs provide. It’s a testament to the enduring legacy of compassion and generosity that continues to shape Indiana’s tech and broader sense of community. 

As we reflect on the journeys each of us in the Indiana tech community are on, it’s abundantly clear to me that the power of connection knows no bounds. Whether through a wagging tail or a gentle nuzzle, therapy dogs have a way of touching our hearts and reminding us of what truly matters. As we look ahead to the future, we do so with gratitude for the moments of joy, comfort and connection that continue to define our shared journey. 

So, here’s to the therapy dogs of ICAN, whose presence brings light to even the darkest of days and offers another layer of delight on milestone moments. May their wagging tails and boundless love serve as a beacon of hope and healing for years to come. 

If you’d like to join the effort to continue this heartwarming tradition you can donate via the Sikich One Cause initiative.  If you’d like to know more about ICAN or want to volunteer with the amazing organization, click here

We’re excited to invite you to an upcoming webinar where you’ll learn all about the ICAN program and our exciting partnership to be posted shortly. Plus, you’ll have the chance to ask any questions you may have! Your generous donations will proudly be displayed on our donation wall. 

With your support, you’ll also get some special perks! You can look forward to scheduled visits or appearances with advance notifications sent out 6-8 weeks beforehand—just make sure to sign up. Want to meet our adorable puppy, Mira? We’ll arrange for personal visits and photo sessions right at your corporate office! 

We’ll keep you updated with photos and news every quarter during Mira’s two-year training journey. And when it’s time, you’re warmly invited to celebrate Mira’s graduation, whether in person or virtually. After Mira finds her home, we’ll make sure to send you a notification and a snapshot of the matched pair.  

Thanks for all your support!