4 Paws For Ability Inc

Rating: 4.76 stars   50 reviews

Issues: Animals, Disabilities, Health, Human Services

Location: 253 Dayton Ave. Xenia OH 45385 USA

Mission: Provide companionship and promote independent living for children and veterans with disabilities.

Programs:

Autism Assistance Dogs

Most requested and most often placed, Autism Assistance Dogs have the ability to track a child that has wandered off, keep the child with the caregiver in public, and are trained to respond to a child’s repetitive behaviors to stop the behavior(s).

 

Hearing Ear Dog

Assist the hearing impaired by alerting them to the presence of a sound in the environment. The dog learns to respond to verbal and hand signals and work for toys or affection. It is trained to make physical contact and lead someone to the source of a sound.

 

Mobility Assistance Dog

Increase the independence of someone who uses a wheelchair, has trouble standing, and/or with ambulating such as people with spinal cord or brain injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida, and Cerebral Palsy. These dogs can be taught to help pull a manual chair up a hill and retrieve dropped items among many other tasks.

 

Multipurpose Assistance Dog

A creative solution for someone who does not fit into one category, which includes people with multiple issues or diagnoses such as Down Syndrome, Fragile X, ADHD, or mental health issues.

 

Seizure Assistance Dog

Trained to complete a variety of tasks from alerting to behavior disruption. Seizure medications often cause behavioral or balance issues and the dogs can help to stabilize the child by wearing a harness that the child can hold. The dogs are trained to remain calm in a chaotic environment and can recognize an impending seizure and signal the child's caregivers before it happens.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

See How $25 Can Help

Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

We received our sons autism service dog in October of 2014. Our lives have changed for the better. Shopping trips, field trips, and speech have all been improved experiences for my son. 4 paws is dedicated to providing the best trained service dog for your child's specific needs. The staff and family that is gained is priceless. We have been truly blessed.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I just received my son's service dog. He is a hearing ear and autism service dog. He also tracks him when he wanders away. I want to say this. I researched EXTENSIVELY before I chose 4paws. I had to really want this. Lots of entry paperwork, lots of referrals, lots of fundraising. They do not just hand out dogs like candy. They also make sure you have ALL the tools to be successful service dog owners and handlers. These dogs are loved from day one. Every one who comes into contact with these dogs love them. He could not be the dog he is if he was not loved and cared for from day one. Even the dogs that do not make it to become service dogs are adopted out to only approved families. First and foremost 4 paws loves their dogs. Then they love their families. You become a part of a family when you receive your service dog. The love and acceptance you feel in the room as a parent of a special needs child......it is a miracle in and of itself. Most of us do not take our children out in public. You never feel judged or lacking. What you do feel is love and understanding and SUPPORT! Our service dog is a MIRACLE in our family. A miracle that all the people involved with 4 paws gave to us. A gift that is immeasurable. Thank you from the depth of my soul.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Very few agencies place dogs with children; even less place them with families with multiple children with disabilities. Imagine my shock when I inquired with the head of 4 Paws about a seizure and sensory dog for my daughter and she said, wouldn't you like your dog to help your other kids too? Let me tell you, our dog has changed our entire lives. She has found my son who slipped away from his grandmother at a museum, she has warned us of seizures, she stopped my oldest son from picking his skin until it bleeds but, most of all, she provides calm, love and security at home and at doctor/dentist appointments. She absolutely exceeds all of our wildest dreams.

You do have to fundraise for 4 Paws but you don't go at it alone. You also have to wait a while for your dog. Finally, you have to train there for 2 weeks. You have to be committed. However, it is worth every effort. Our lives are so much better with our beautiful 4 Paws Dog.

In addition to a dog who meets every expectation and more, 4 Paws for Ability provides us support and a network of friendships that so many families don't have. I couldn't recommend them more highly, in fact, 3 of our closest family friends have hotten dogs there since meeting ours. 4Paws changes lives and are more than deserving of your support.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

This organization has integrity and cares for their dogs and trains them in a positive manner that prepares them to be excellent service dogs for the people they eventually assist.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

We are about to receive our second 4 Paws dog. The care and attention to detail - the detailed preparation to receive a dog and the well-being of the children and dogs is upper-most in the minds and hearts of this nonprofit. They have an exceedingly hard job but do it well. We would never consider going to any other organization because of the attention to the specific needs of the child (our child).

Their President / CEO / Executive director is an exceedingly amazing human being who has come up with with smart and creative ways to meet the needs of the ever-expanding population 4 Paws serves. She does it with enthusiasm for the job and empathy for the clients she serves --- Nonprofit growth and management is difficult. 4 Paws is an organization that has an excellent mission placing service dogs with an under-served population. Their integrity is impeccable and in accordance with the highest industry standards. We feel blessed and thankful we are part of their family.

Our daughter already has a 4 Paws dog that has served her exceptionally well for almost 10 years. He is slowing down quite a bit now and ready to retire. We are very thankful that 4 Paws allowed us to help raise awareness and funds so we might have another placement specifically trained for our child. We are also thankful that once retired her service dog will live out the rest of his life with us.

I agree that when one donates to a charity, they should vet it to be sure they want their money to go for a good cause. I work in nonprofit management. Anyone who works in the nonprofit arena can spot this amazing organization for what it is - excellent. I believe you couldn't put your tax deductible dollars to better use - We watched 4 Paws grow over the years and visited a year ago when we started to think about the next dog - the only changes we saw were that these folks just keep fine tuning their operation; doing things better and better for the benefit of their clients.

Thank you 4 Paws - words can't really articulate what you mean to our family.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

We did our research and found out that 4 Paws for Ability if the best agency world wide. That is why we have chosen them. The knowledge and support from the staff is excellent, I would highly suggest them.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

We got our first service dog from 4 paws in 2011. He was an awesome dog and his bond with my daughter was unbreakable. He would comfort her after a seizure, help her pick up her toys (seriously, he would even put them in the toy box), he was her constant companion and best friend...in dec 2013 he passed away due to an intestinal perforation... 4 paws immediately offered us a new dog (we still had to wait the amount of time it takes to train them, the same amount of time any other family would have waited if they had just finished fundraising). They never once asked us to raise any more money... This company CARES about us... They care about our kids...and they care about their dogs... Karen could have required us to fundraise the amount it takes to train a new dog...but she didn't... She knew how utterly devastated we were and she knew how much my daughter needed her dog. We have a new dog now that has taken up right where our old one left off. I was worried that no dog could ever replace our first one.. But that was never the case.. These dogs have so much love and devotion to give.... You can't to wrong with 4 paws... There's also a wonderful support group for families that means the world to us parents... 4 paws is in this for the right reasons. They deserve every donation they ever get.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

We received our sons service dog over a year ago! The best decision we ever made. 4paws is the best organization around not only for what there dogs can do but u also get love and support, the trainers are very knowledgeable and very genuine on making there placement to make a good service dog team when u go home. I would and do definitely recommend 4paws.

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Delmar came to our home August of 2013 and he is exactly what our son needed. 4 Paws is absolutely amazing as they selected and trained the perfect SD for our son based on his needs. They are very thorough, so therefore the process can be time consuming, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone was great, but Jeremy, the head trainer stands out as you can tell this is his absolute passion in life -- not just a routine 9 to 5 job. They do not hand you a dog and say "Here you go". They provided a highly trained service dog trained task specific for our son and provided us in depth training on how to handle and care for him. Jeremy is a simple phone call away should we need help as is anyone at 4 Paws, even though they are extremely busy training both dogs and their handlers. I cannot tell you how much Delmar has done for our son and the peace of mind we have knowing he has our sons best interest at heart 24 hours a day. I honestly can't say enough about 4 Paws, but I am honored for them to be part of our family and just want to simply say Thank You 4 Paws!

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I did my homework and this was the organization that we chose!!!! My son has Down Syndrome. We looked into other agencies and was actually turned down as we were told my son didn't meet their criteria. I spoke directly to Karen Shirk multiple times and she assured me that my son did qualify for a service dog. I am so lucky to have found 4 Paws. We received our dog over 2 years ago and our lives have been changed forever. I have also gained a huge 4 Paws extended family and still keep in contact with my class members along with Chevy's fosters and other people within the organization. Whenever I need help, the trainers are there. My family even adopted one of the dogs that didn't make it through training and they are thrilled with her. I would highly recommend this organization... You will not regret your decision. Wish I could give it a 10!!!!!!!

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Where do I begin? Did a major amount of research before choosing 4 Paws for Ability. I did many searches on the internet, talked to present clients that received dogs and spoke candidly with Karen Shirk in regards to any concerns or questions I had. I was happy, but when we attended class, we got so much more than I expected. We continue to get support from the trainers and I know I made the right choice. My child was turned down my Canine Companions for Independence and now, looking back I'm so happy that they did. The dog we received from 4 Paws for Ability was trained specially for my son. I would recommend this organization over and over again.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar