Wednesday, April 22, 2009

About 4 Paws for Ability

Mission & Goals. The stated mission of 4 Paws is to enrich the lives of people with dis­abili­ties by the training and placement of service dogs to provide individuals with com­panionship and promote inde­pendent liv­ing, regardless of age and severity of disability. In doing so, they will also reduce the number of unwanted ani­mals who would otherwise be de­stroyed by obtaining the majority of their animals from shelters and rescue groups.

The Placement Process. Most service dog placement organizations have a waiting list of at least 2 to 5 years. These service dogs, with their specialized training, are costly to train, some costing up to $26,000, and most organizations rely on a single person, or small group of people, doing the fundrais­ing. Because the amount of funds they are able to raise is limited, they can only offer a certain number of dogs each year. At 4 Paws, the money doesn’t come out of the recipient’s pocket, either. What they have done is to create a fundraising requirement. They form a working relationship with re­cipients and their families to have them raise money for 4 Paws, so the waiting list is only as long as it takes the person to complete their fundraising requirement.

4 Paws was the first agency to begin placing skilled autism service dogs and continues to be the largest organization in the United States placing autism assistance dogs with tracking. This continues to be the most often placed type of service dog, with well over 100 placed thus far. 4 Paws trains several other types of service dogs, as well.

Hearing Service Dogs. Dogs are trained to alert their teammates to sounds such as smoke alarm, doorbell, or alarm clock.

Mobility Assistance Dogs. Mobility Assis­tance Dogs increase the independence of a person with limited mobility. They perform tasks such as retrieving dropped items and opening doors.

Seizure Service Dogs. A Seizure Service Dog will provide support for the child be­fore, during and after a seizure, as well as easing their medical appointments and treatments. Some of these dogs can be helped to learn to alert their family when the child is about to have a seizure.

In-Home Companion Dogs. These dogs are trained to meet the needs of the child as in any of the other types of training programs. The only difference is that the dog is not certified to work in public, most likely because the dog does not work well in a public setting. These dogs cost less than the other types of service dogs, and are not subject to “pet” regulations, such as apartments with a “no pet” policy.

Multipurpose Dogs. While some children are clearly suited to one specific type of service dog, there are many with multiple issues, or with diagnoses that do not seem to be addressed directly in the typical ser­vice dog categories. 4 Paws will develop a training program specifically tailored to meet the needs of these children.

All of these dogs also provide their owners with a constant companion and a special bond of friendship. They build a bridge be­tween children with disabilities and their peers.


For more information or to donate, please contact:

4 Paws for Ability

253 Dayton Ave.

Xenia, Ohio  45385

Phone: (937) 374-0385

On the Web:

If you would like to help Dawsyn, please note that the donation is “In Honor of Dawsyn Harke” so that the family is given credit for their volunteer work.

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