Operation Freedoms Paws

Rating: 4.98 stars   41 reviews

Issues:

Location: 777 First Street Pmb 515 Gilroy CA 95020 USA

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Thanks to all the people at Operation Freedom Paw I have been regaining my confident. I now am able to go to parties and gathering where there are a lot of people and feel more comfortable and enjoy the event.

My husband enjoy this new found freedom as well. He dose not have me glue to him the whole time with a vice grip on his arm.

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?

2014

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Thank you Operation Freedom Paws for giving my life back to me. Being outdoors, in crowds, anxiety, depression can now be managed with the help of Bochy, my service dog.

Mary and her team provide excellent support and training, and along the way I have learned a lot about myself. I was amazed how quickly I was accepted into the program. Waiting lists for some programs can be 2-5 years. In my case it was only a few weeks before Bochy and I were matched.

As a non-Veteran, finding a service dog program can be difficult. Mary and team welcomed me with open arms and continue to support Bochy and myself.

Programs like Operation Freedom Paws save lives and it is because of the amazing work Mary and her team proves.

Thank you Operation Freedom Paws!!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Mary and the OFP staff and volunteers are the most unselfish and giving group of people I've ever come across. Mary is hands in and giving of her time in more ways than I can verbalize. OFP has given me the tools to help me deal with my disability and try to manage everyday life as best I can. This is a great organization.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Operation Freedom Paws is an incredible organization. While living in Monterey I had the chance to get to know Mary Cortani and I have learned so much from her. Even though I moved to Hawaii two years ago, Mary is still a great friend and will always be there to give good advice and listen when there is a dog crisis.
I have seen her and the great OFP trainers transform veterans and shelter dogs in incredible teams that are saving each other. They put a lot of work in socialization and obedience training. I am so happy for them that they move to a new and bigger facility so that they can help more veterans and other people in need of a service dog and help with dog training. I can't wait to visit and see them all in action again!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I love Operation Freedoms Paws, while living in California I was fortunate enough to meet Mary Cortani , she is a incredible trainer with a natural sense on matching teams together and strengthening them. For the most part I worked with Mary on Sundays during her hobby as a Search and Rescue Dog trainer for MCSARD :-) But I was always welcome to join her classes in Gilroy. I enjoyed every class, watching the veterans learning to trust in their dogs was just amazing. On days where new veterans came without a dog yet, Mary would give them one of my dogs, Sean to see how the vets would do with him and I could coach them a bit. Sean always loved it, since that just meant more treats for him :-) I will always support Operation Freedoms Paws and their amazing cause!!!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Mary and her team are amazing. Her drive and passion to help her clients and their animals is noteworthy. She is brilliant and that is why she is where she is. Not many people can care as deeply as Mary. She takes each client and dog team very seriously and treats them with respect. She considers them her family. I've worked with helping Mary find rescue dogs with service potiental over the last 4 years. What an amazing model to save animals as well as humans. OFP is a non profit that have moved mountains for many, and will continue to save lives of our Veterans & their families (and shelter dogs!) for years to come. Thank you OFP for breaking down the barriers for our service men and women. And doing do in a compassionate and humane way by utilizing animals that would otherwise die waiting in shelters.

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I first met OFP's founder, Mary Cortani, in 2011. My heart was warmed by her group's powerful mission and I was amazed at what she had been able to accomplish is such a short amount of time. Mary has transformed her passion of working with dogs and helping others into an organization that has blossomed in the last 2 years and been able to help so many deserving group members. It is truly wonderful to see our Veterans receiving the help they need through OFP. The other beneficiary of this program are the dogs, many of which are rescued from shelters, and given another chance in life as well. Mary's organization proves that love can heal all wounds.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

In 2003 I was declared permanently and totally disabled with, "No Improvement Likely". That was TEN long years ago. My PTSD has robbed me of most of the enjoyment of my life as well as most everything even just activities of daily life.

When a beautiful dog came into our lives we decided maybe we would try to train him to help me. Unfortunately there just are no organizations in the rural, remote are we live in. The dream then of having a 'service dog' became overwhelming. We were lost.

Then, one day call it fate, I stumbled on the Operation Freedom Paws facebook page. I find it difficult to express how truly wonderful these folks are. They didn't know me, I live a thousand miles away from them, I'm not in their classes, I have nothing to offer them and yet these amazing people extended a hand, offered training tips and ENCOURAGEMENT.

They are completely non-judgmental and the positive environment that they maintain keeps me 'up'. They also understand PTSD better than any psychiatrist I've been to.

I nearly cry as I write this. With their encouragement then we as a dog team became brave, we began going OUT to the store, down the street and in the process of training the dog, I began FOCUSING on something other than my disability. Having the disabled person train the service dog is the brilliance behind this whole idea. Disabled people need a purpose and that is exactly what this fulfills.

As my 'service dog in-training' actually began to complete his tasks in helping me, I began to have HOPE again for the first time in a decade.

Hope is one of the greatest gifts of all.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get them more national exposure. This organization TRULY is a high quality group of people that are making a very real difference in people's lives.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I joined Mary when she was trying to find a place where she could follow through on her idea to train pound puppies for returning soldiers. The idea was the pups would help the Often PTSD affected Soldiers reintegrate with society. A warm furry friend , also a non judgmental friend. There are many ways life can be hard for the Military "yes Sir' person to get used to normal family life. I really did not know how strongly Mary felt about this but she is a focused former Army member and was tenascious in her outlook. Totly dedicated. It hturned out to be a very wonderful dream and I am so glad that it is working out. She is a special person, and deserves all the support she can get. I am not a soldier and I can't tell you about the sucess for them. but as a cilvianpanic attach victum I know My service dog was wa real help.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was becoming disabled and finding that hard to accept.Operation Freedoms Paws was offered to me and it was a wonderful program. I trained my dog and became more comfortable walking for exercise. Everyone associated with OFP Helped. The Veterans were well matched with dogs for their needs it is like a flow of magic from Mary who picks out a shelter dog for the veterans. She then helps them train the dogs and both woman and men are treated equally. There are wheelchair bound and ambulatory veterans so there are many skills in OFP training and they are worked on at every class. The Veterans seem Happy and calm with their new helpers.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

One word. AMAZING. This group lead by their fearless hero, Mary Cortani, is one of the most unique orgs out there. They not only save dogs lives by pulling out special animals from high kill shelters, they save lives of those who have sacrificed everything : our veterans of war who return with invisible wounds like PTSD and TBI. I was lucky enough to meet Mary when placing a dog from my local shelter with her. I was invited to see the Vet meet his new best friend, DJ. It was something I will never forget. Moving is an understatement. OFP holds a very special place in my heart and I will always have the upmost respect for Mary and her AWESOME program!!!!!!!!!! She has truly saved lives of our Veterans. Without her help, many of them would have died waiting to get a trained service dog from other orgs. But because Mary believes in letting the Vet train their own dog, these men and women wait around a month or so to have a dog placed with them. Months, compared to YEARS can make all the difference in life or death. 10 stars for Mary and all of her OFP family!!!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

in March 2010, my husband was hospitalized for a severe case of pneumonia. He was also diagnosed with the beginning stages of emphysema, which was not all that surprising since he had been a heavy smoker for over 40 years up to that point. After spending close to a week in the hospital, he was released with a very promising prognosis and a commitment to never light up another cigarette.

Unfortunately, all of this wonderful progress was short-lived. On the 3rd day after being released from the hospital, he began his medication regimen which included a new antibiotic that he had not been given previously in the hospital. Within 5 minutes of taking it, he underwent an anaphylactic shock which caused one of his lungs to completely shut down and he nearly died. After being rushed back to the hospital and spending several more days recovering from this medical episode, he was released. Thus began a 3 year journey of watching my husband who had always been the calm leader and primary provider of our household transform into a completely different man who was unable to work and was continuously anxious and becoming increasingly depressed.

Everything was turned inside out and upside down. Life was no longer “normal” as we knew it. All the dreams and plans that we had for this time in my life for traveling, spending time with grand kids, being financially secure, were vanishing like grains of sand running through a sieve.

Now three years later, through the help of Operation Freedom Paws and Mary Cortani's compassionate training program with veterans and civilians and their dogs, we literally have a new lease on life and hope for the future. Mary's focus on training the handler and the dog has provided what the multitude of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications could not provide. Although my husband still has issues of anxiety which is probably now more of a result of the COPD issues that he has to cope with, he is able to go out on his own because of his service dog. Before, he had a very difficult time going out without me accompanying him. He has also been able to stop using one of the medications that he was on for depression. It has been a real blessing for our family.

We have always had a heart for organizations that provide services to our veterans. As supporters of several veteran organizations including another service dog program in Florida, we were thrilled to find Operation Freedom Paws, a local organization that we could not only support financially but also participate as clients in. Mary Cortani and her staff of volunteer mentor trainers have been a God-send to us and I cannot say enough positive things about them. We are living proof that her program works!

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

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