NADA 2019: Canine Companions, Joe Verde & Ben Chavez

canine companions

At this year’s NADA Show in San Francisco, CBT News caught up with Joe Verde and Ben Chavez at the ADESA Charity Auction supporting Canine Companions. Joe is president, and founder of Joe Verde Sales and Management Training, Inc., and Ben, along with his service dog Nepal, are strong advocates for this incredible program.canine companions

For more coverage from the 2019 NADA Show, visit us here.


Auctioneer: I understand if we all aren’t going to bid, but I understand most of us are going to bid, but please, hand clap, applause, cheer on the bidders. This is going for a great cause. And let’s just keep the energy up and alive.

So we’re going to open up the starting bid at a $1,000. Is there anyone at a thousand dollars? $1,000 there. What are we thinking at $2000? Is there anybody at $2000? What do you think about $9,000? What do you think about $9,000? What do you think about $10,000? 10. We got $11,000. $18 grand, $19,000. What you thinking, 19, gotta be 19, wanna be $19,000. Gotta 20. Now 20, 20, what are you thinking of 20? 20, give me a 20, what you think of a 20? 20, 20, gimme a 20. 20. $20,000. What you thinking about? Got it! 21. What do you think about 21? Sold! $20,000. Canine Companions, thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re here with Joe Verde who is the man behind the high bid on this whole phenomenal program. Joe, you’ve been involved in this charity now for years. Talk to us about the motivation behind that.

Joe Verde: The motivation is, and I was just talking to Peter, when I go home and see my dog, it’s wonderful. I can’t imagine how these guys that are disabled feel when they have a dog like this to help them through this daily stuff that they have to do that we all take for granted. These dogs are incredibly important to them. I do anything I can to help out. I’m a vet, all my family’s been veterans, and I just appreciate what they do, and I appreciate what CCI does to make it available for these guys. They just do a wonderful job.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Talk to us a little bit about the organization because I know that you know about it.

Joe Verde: We’ve been to a few of their graduation exercises. And one of the things, when we went the very first time, she said, “Okay, now take a seat, and there’s a box of Kleenex in every row.” And I’m like, “What do I need a Kleenex for?” About halfway into it, I needed a Kleenex.

You can’t even describe it. If everybody could go to a graduation and see how much these people appreciate it, they have these … The animals, they’re just, they’re great.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ben, talk to us about this phenomenal program and this phenomenal charity and what it’s meant to you in your life.

Ben Chavez: I could just go on for days on this organization. No, it’s not yours baby.

I got into Canine Companions through a friend of mine who was also a retired police officer. He’s a puppy raiser for this organization. He said, “Hey Ben, you qualify for one of these dogs.” I have severe hearing loss in both ears, right. All of a sudden, I get this letter or an email saying report to Florida for team training for your dog. It’s was great.

And once I got there, I was teamed with Nepal. He’s already pretty much trained from the [Puppy Racers 00:02:45], it’s the basic obedience. When he goes to advanced school, that’s when they teach him how to hear for me, basically. He hears sounds that I can’t hear. For example, sirens, doorbells, door knocks, the microwave going off. Or if there’s a sound that he doesn’t know, that he hasn’t heard, he’ll still alert me to it and take me to that sound. And it’s like, okay yeah.

Again, for me, like I was saying earlier, he’s a life changer, a game changer. With me, as far as sirens, I don’t hear a siren at all if we’re in a car driving. I do not hear it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow, that could be dangerous.

Ben Chavez: And he’ll sit in the back seat of the car. He hears a siren, he could be at a dead sleep, he will jump up, hit me with his nose, and like, “Hey, dummy, there’s something going on” which causes me to look in the mirror and then I’ll see the siren. He gets his treat.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So, it’s really been a life changer for you.

Ben Chavez: Oh yeah, there’s no doubt.

Jim Fitzpatrick: What would you say to the dealers that are watching, and their managers and dealerships, across the country, and how meaningful this is, and what would you like them to do to help the cause?

Ben Chavez: Anything they can give for CCI would be amazing. I would also recommend, if anybody loves puppies, become a puppy raiser. Raise these puppies for this organization. Give back. This is a great organization.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Great organization, great cause for dealers that are listening. Go online, check it out, and give. That’s the most important thing, right?

Ben Chavez: Give and if you need a dog, have your family members or if you need one, apply for it. It’s a two-way thing. Give to both.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ben, thank you so much for your time.

Ben Chavez: Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I appreciate it very much. Congratulations to you, and to your dog here. Nepal, right?

Ben Chavez: He’s ready for a nap.