Operation Freedoms Paws

Rating: 4.98 stars   41 reviews

Issues: Veterans

Location: 777 First Street Pmb 515 Gilroy CA 95020 USA

Mission:
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

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

 
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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  

2 people found this review helpful

My role was not really listed as I just became a member who will be in training commencing May 18th. However, I can say that I've been looking for a program such as this type for the past 3 years (and in secret as I didn't want anyone to know of my interest in service dogs!). I suffer from PTSD / MST which is hard enough for me to divulge in itself, however; I finally got an affirmation from my counselor who suggested getting a service dog for both companion and work. I found out about Operation Freedoms Paws and had compared the program to a number of others. Now let me be clear, I believe that all these organizations who work with service dogs for Vets are all pronominal and deserve recognition, however; where I saw a big difference was in the manner in which Mary Cardoni - Founder of Operation Freedoms Paws, conducts her placing of service dogs with the character of the vets they be teaming up with. Key word being "TEAMING" as the understanding is that the Veteran is totaling emerged in learning to train his/her dog. The benefits and advantages to this approach in training are countless and I'm sure each person involved will count his or her blessing once they start the program. I believe Mary Cortani is a Trail Blazer of Operation Freedoms Paws her techniques may be the most important evolution in training that many organizations should follow.

Jorge L. Rodriguez
USMC

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  

3 people found this review helpful

I am blessed and honored to call Mary Cortani a close personal friend. I can say it is just as special to see Mary build a dream into a reality in the likeness of OFP. Utilizing her military training and her expertise as a canine trainer, Mary has built a foundation to surpass all expectations of service animals. Watching Mary transform a canine and handler into a team, a unit, a partnership is magical. Not only does she give our veterans a second chance to be part of communities, she allows them to break barriers that may have seemed impossible. PTSD, Food Allergies, Anxiety, and Diabetic Levels are just a few conditions off of a long list that Mary trains her Service Dogs to be aware of to protect thier handlers. Mary has selected a strong support team to help provide the services to Veterans in need. Giving new life and hope is also given to the canines she chooses from shelters and rescues. Though the demand is high and the hours are long, Mary is determined to continue the journey with passion and devotion. It is with great pleasure I am able to share this information of OFP and Mary Cortani!

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?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Mary Cortani and Operation Freedoms Paws offer an invaluable service to both veterans and the general public. Mary has a thorough understanding of dogs and their handlers and shares this knowledge in a supportive and effective manner. As a volunteer with a German Shepherd Rescue group I wholeheartedly recommend OFP to all GSD adopters.

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?

2012

 
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Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am a disabled veteran with a service dog that did a little training at Operation Freedom Paws. Their program was very similar to the program where I obtained my service dog from, only bigger in scope. My dog and I had no problem blending in with the Operation Freedom Dog training routine. There were over two dozen dogs and handlers in training and the program went very smoothly. The only down size was just that size ... more space would sure be a benefit to a program that provides priceless support and encouragement to disabled veterans.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I am a disabled veteran. I have vision, hearing, mobility, and balance issues as a result of my military service. The VA physical therapist indicated that I needed the cane for mobility, but using it was destroying my shoulder and there was nothing she could do to prevent that. I was very fortunate to obtain a service dog to replace the cane. Not only did the service dog ameliorate the slowly disintegrating shoulder, but the service dog learned to assist me with my blind and deaf left side and damaged cerebellum. In other words, the service dog helped restore a quality of like I lost 30 years ago as a result of my military service. This program is A+ and truly benefits America's veterans.

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?

2012

 
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