OCEANSIDE — Joe Moeller, an 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. CCI, based in Oceanside, 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.
If you’re at the airport, keep your eye out for a 6-foot-6-inch man with a Canine Companions shirt. Moeller 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,” he said. “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.”
He even carries a photo book about Canine Companions that he and Trudy compiled to share with people he meets. As a result, Moeller has introduced his favorite non-profit organization to countless individuals including MLB players and staff who now support the cause.
“We are honored to have Joe on our team at Canine Companions,” said Barbara Barrow, Southwest Region executive director. “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 L.A. 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. He 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 six years.
“I cannot think of a better place for Trudy and I to give of our time and energy,” said Moeller. “Canine Companions is a perfect fit for us because of our love of dogs and our desire to help people with disabilities.”
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,” he said.
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,” Moeller said.