Service dogs doing remarkable things…
4 Paws for Ability are training and providing service dogs for Children with disabilities and Veterans worldwide.
Karen Shirk founded ‘4 Paws for Ability’ in 1998. Karen was suffering from a debilitating autoimmune neuromuscular disorder called Myasthenia Gravis. She wanted a service dog and went about seeking one via the traditional channels. But Karen was not accepted as a candidate and was even rejected because she relied a ventilator. Determined to keep going, Karen got her own dog and went about training it for her needs with the guidance of a local dog training school. It was not long before Karen realized that there were many others like her in need of a service dog and demand was so much greater than supply. Children and adults were on waiting lists. Some Veterans needed a service dog for lost use of limbs or hearing affected due to time they served for their country.
4 Paws for Ability are placing approximately 100 dogs per year but there are plans for expansion. They’ve certainly come a long way from a plan that began in a one-bedroom apartment. The service dogs are highly trained before being matched up with their new owners. They are generally 16 mths old, highly socialized and their ‘task-training’ has been customized according to the recipient’s needs. Autism, diabetes and epilepsy are just a few examples of reasons folks might join the program. A dog trained to help a person with epilepsy for example, would be trained to alert to the onset of a seizure.
In many programs service dogs are older when placed but 4 Paws for Ability matches earlier to extend the length of the match and also to help bonding. Once the dog goes home it is considered the recipient’s dog and not e.g. a family dog. Other family members can love it up as much as they want but all special activities, feeding, treats and play are reserved for the relationship between dog and recipient.
Children and adults helped by ‘4 for Paws for Ability’ are quick to express how they adore their much needed fur-pals and in some cases even declare the dogs have been life-saving.
4 Paws for Ability are also proud to be focused on educating the public about service dogs in public.
Please watch the following brief video as Director of Training, Jeremy Dulebohn demonstrates how these incredible dogs are started in this life-transforming journey…
Or check out their website at https://4pawsforability.org
Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding,
Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane