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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

4 Paws For Ability Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Autism, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Disabilities, Dogs, Health, Human Services

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.

Community Stories

162 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve volunteered onsite, and fostered through their college program. I can’t speak highly enough of 4 paws. They create a community and family that is so special and spreads love and goodness to everyone involved. No matter how you fit into 4 paws, you know you are a part of something that is doing great things that benefit so many people.

Meredith Baird R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

4 Paws for ability has given me a new purpose as my daughters are now in college and I had lost my avenue for volunteering. I have met several nice people and witnessed goodness occurring in this world.

Gabrielle B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteered with their college and traditional fostering program, housed a breeding dog & volunteered onsite at 4 paws. Participated in fundraising for individual dogs + a sponsored litter of puppies.

Tina Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

4 PAWS for Ability is awesome! 4 PAWS is a community who is available to their volunteers and clients 24/7! They provide Service Dogs to children and vets, and when you decide to go with them, you become part of the 4 PAWS family!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son was just placed in a class for a multi purpose service dog for his autism, TORRETTEs, IED, OCD, ADHD, and severe anxiety. This is a wonderful non profit organization who helps children with all different types of disorders regardless of age. They even help Vets in need. I would not recommend any other agency. They have provided a safe place for parents and children to talk, share, and listen. One big happy family! I also recently decided to give back by volunteering and fostering a future 4 PAWS SD.

Jansell N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot talks enough for the 4paws magic ! Thanks to 4paws for ability for a peace of mind! Everyone does a great job! Class V July 2018!!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thanks 4paws for helping us in this journey now we know we are not alone

Client Served

Rating: 5

My brother met his service dog last month and to say she has been life-changing for him and our family would be understatement! 4 Paws is obviously filled with people who care and who pour love into the training the dogs need to change lives so dramatically and so quickly ❤️

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have only been volunteering with 4 Paws since the beginning of 2018, but quickly fell in love with the program, as a foster family, puppy sitter and on-site volunteer. Watching the dogs being matched never fails to bring tears to our eyes and I'm still amazed at the dogs' abilities. The hard-working full time team never seem to complain of the long hours and weekends spent with the constant flow of people and dogs coming in and out of the 4 Paws facility. I have no problem donating my time and money to this wonderful nonprofit.

Morgan17

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter got her service dog, O'Malley, last year. He is literally a life saver. He gives her the ability to explore the world safely, and gives us peace of mind. When you join the 4 Paws family, you get just that...a family. You connect with other parents who "get it," who have been through similar experiences. Some of my best friends are other moms I've met through 4 Paws. And 4 Paws' involvement doesn't end when you take your service dog home, either. You can call the trainers any time if you have questions. I can't recommend 4 Paws enough.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

4 paws is literally a life saver. Their service dogs are amazing as are the staff.

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Mackenzie V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have recently completed our fundraising and are waiting for our service dog match and class in 2020 for our almost 3 yr old daughter Leo. She has Dandy Walker Syndrome which has caused her to be globally delayed. She will need a multi-function service dog but primarily for mobility as she does not walk at this point. 4 Paws has been wonderful throughout the entire process thus far. Their communication is top notch which has been important to us. A very transparent organization as well in regard to financials, policies, practices, etc. We are extremely happy with our decision to have chosen 4 Paws for Ability.

Melissa G.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for 4 paws for a few years now and all I can say is how amazing the relationships formed are. The relationships are not only between families and 4 paws but the network between families, employees and volunteers. This organization is not just an organization, but a community and does great things together❤

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love 4 Paws and what they stand for. I was introduced to 4 Paws when I was at WSU and needed to complete volunteer hours for a class, I was accepted in and did socializing. A few years past and I got this chance to work as a kennel staff member and that’s when I truly fell in love with the dogs and what these dogs do for people. I now foster SDIT and can’t wait to see them graduate and become the SD they are meant to be. I love advocating for 4 Paws and informing people about service dogs.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We got our son's service dog from 4 paws 4 years ago. We have never been sorry. She is expertly trained and an asset to our lives. We have remained active in the 4 Paws community and have adopted a dog who was released from their program due to a medical problem. We knew he would be a good fit because of our satisfaction with our first dog.

Danielle S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer with 4 Paws for Ability and I have learned in the short time I’ve been there that they are a very tight-knit community. I’ve met lots of new friends and seen how these dogs impact lives from the moment they are born.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

4 Paws for Ability has not only changed my life as a puppy raiser, but has changed thousands of lives, including the 1,350 children and veterans who have received service dogs from 4 Paws. I’m thankful to be a part of this amazing program

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

About 3 years ago I moved states and began college at the University of Kentucky. I knew not a single person at this school let alone in Kentucky. I became part of 4 Paws for Ability at UK and began fostering service dogs in training and it has truly changed my life. This program gives individuals with disabilities a second chance at life. 4 Paws for Ability has changed so many individuals with disabilities lives, but this program has also changed my life. This program has taught me respect, patients, time-management, selflessness, and so much more, but above all, this program has taught me to give unconditional love to a service dog in training, keep it for months, and then allow it to move on to do bigger things and know that this dog will do amazing things in an individual with a disabilities life and I was a small part of making that huge process happen. 4 Paws for Ability has helped me become a better person and it is truly one of the most amazing programs!

1 Tobias63

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having seen the impact of 4Paws for Ability from multiple sides: as a foster puppy raiser; part of a family that raised funds then went through training and now have a placed service dog in our family; to seeing many 4Paws Dogs in action and the highly skilled trainers teaching, the impact of this nonprofit is simply amazing!

These dogs are trained to changes lives and they do everyday! Depending on the strengths of each dog and the needs of the client matches are made and children with autism find a way to take part in the world around them because their dog is at their side. Many dogs are trained in tethering and to track, helping parents whose child tries to run from or hide from the overwhelming stimulations brought on by life.

Those with medical issues have the comfort of assistance and an alerting dog for diabetes or epilepsy. Vets with PTSD have the comforter that help them face their challenges.

All this through a community of well trained staff and a huge volunteer force who believe in the “4Paws Magic,” it make such a difference to everyone involved!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to 4 Paws for Ability just over a 2 years ago when a family member was fundraising for a service dog for their son with autism. Now as a volunteer puppy raiser, and with a placed service dog in the family, I have seen the full range of the incredible process and high standards that is 4 Paws for Ability. From intentional breeding of only the very best dogs exhibiting the required traits and strengths, to the socialization that further separates these dogs from others. The advance training and evaluations that match dogs to their forever clients is nothing short of incredible! These dogs are life changing to their placed families, and life changing to the many loving hands that prepare them for their service. I can't speak high enough of 4 Paws for Ability and all they do for those they serve and their precious pups!

Shannon G.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were so blessed by 4 Paws for Ability Inc. Our son received and we trained with his autism assistance service dog in 2005 after we completed our fundraising goal. She was an amazing asset to our son but more so his best friend. The love she provided along with the service made such a difference my sons life. She gave comfort, love, companionship, provided opportunities for socialization while in public and so much more. We had Hannah for 12.5 years (she just recently passed at 13.5 years old.) Our lives were forever touched by this amazing agency and our black lab, Hannah.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Several months ago we heard about a need for foster families for service dogs in training from 4 Paws for Ability. The fosters are required to socialize the dogs and take them everywhere someone with a service dog might go. My niece was waiting to get her own dog, so we knew how important it was for the pups to be properly trained. We decided to apply. We were sitting in the facility for my niece's service dog graduation when we got an email saying they had a dog that needed a family for a few months. We had no idea we would be bringing a dog home that day, but when we met Armani, we knew we could not say no. While we were waiting in the lobby for our supplies, we were so impressed at how the trainers, volunteers and other employees would come up to Armani, and we were even more impressed at how excited he was to see them. It was obvious that the 4 Paws staff was wonderful to these dogs. After the 3 months of fostering him, we took him back to be evaluated and found out he would be placed in advanced training and be specifically trained to help a child or a veteran. 4 Paws for Ability provides everything a foster family needs to care for the pups while they have them, so we are not responsible to pay for anything. The money from this contest could help them care for and train more dogs for those who really need them.

Review from #MyGivingStory

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a foster in the 4 Paws for Ability University Program for 1 year now and I am about to start my second year. I go to the College of Wooster and one of the main reasons I chose the school was because of 4 Paws for Ability.

Snickerdoodle, a golden lab and golden doodle mix, was the primary dog my house fostered for the year and it was the best year I could have ever had! Not only did Snickerdoodle graduate, but he went to a sweet girl who had medical issues and needed Snickerdoodle to help her live a for fulfilling life.

4 Paws for Ability does monthly meetings for College/University fosters to voice any unusual issues they might be having with their dog and to receive advice on how to fix those issues as well as it gives fosters a chance to ask general questions and receive feedback that could be helpful for other fosters. I bring up these meetings because everytime I went with my foster dog, Lynn Agee, our University Program Coordinator, has been very patient and understanding of our issues and ensures that we are all socializing our dogs in the best environments possible as well as makes sure the dog's health is top priority.

I would like to conclude by saying that every couple meetings I attend at 4 Paws headquarters will include a story of a family whose life has changed because of 4 Paws for Ability. And every time I hear one of those stories, I put all my stress from the homework, tests, and paperwork that 4 Paws for Ability requires us to keep up to date on aside and remind myself that by if I am able to get our foster dog to graduate (which I have already done once and hope to do again next year), I am helping not just the person who needs the dog, but also their family who may be looking after that person.

I thank 4 Paws for Ability for showing me that fostering and socializing a potential service dog is more than just taking it to different places and having the dog meet new people. Foster and socializing a service dog is one step closer to giving a child or veteran with medical disabilities a new chance at living a fulfilling and happy life. I will forever be grateful for having the opportunities that 4 Paws provide in helping achieve this goal.


Client Served

Rating: 5

4 Paws is amazing! They are so helpful and so supportive throughout the entire process of getting one of their life changing service dogs! Very knowledgeable and informative as well. They for sure go above and beyond!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

4 paws for ability is such a great organization! I was privileged to foster a puppy for 2 semesters in college and loved every moment of it. I've loved watching the organization grow and hearing the stories of families who receive service dogs. 4 paws is really making a difference all across the country!