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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Paws4People, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Crime & Law, Military & Veterans Organizations, Public & Societal Benefit, Rehabilitation Services for Offenders, Veterans

Mission: Educating and empowering people to utilize Assistance Dogs to transform their lives.

Results: paws4people has more than 400 highly trained Assistance Dogs, Facility Dogs, and Emotional Support Dogs in areas such as mobility and psychiatric service, educational and rehabilitative assistance, and social therapy. Together, these Dogs have made more than 1,000,000 therapeutic contacts.

Target demographics: Veterans, Service Members, and their dependents, and civilians (children, adolescents, and adults) with physical, neurological,psychiatric, or emotional disabilities.

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Programs: The paws4vets Assistance Dog Placement Program places Medical Alert Assistance Dogs-Psychiatric, Mobility Assistance Dogs ,and Emotional Support Dogs with Veterans, Service Members, and military dependents living with physical, neurological, psychiatric, or emotional disabilities.

Community Stories

66 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Provider6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am currently in my eighth month working with my medical assistance dog, LINCOLN. He is a black Labrador Retriever. He has changed my way of life in words I cannot describe. Instead of being a couch potato, I am now up and about. I can go anywhere. Instead of being a couch potato, I am now up and about. I can go anywhere. Great Organization!

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): paws4people, a nonprofit organization, is quite simply the finest program I have ever had the opportunity to work with. They have litterally changed my life for the better. I am not sure where I would be right now without them.

paws4people link veterans and civilians up with trained medical assistance dogs in an attempt to make that person’s life more manageable and livable. Without their help, I am sure I would be in a very dark place as I am writing this testimonial right now.

I have been paired up with a black Labrador Retriever by the name of LINCOLN. He is my trusted companion and provides me with unconditional love. He asks for nothing back except for the same love and gentleness. I was paired with LINCOLN back in July 2018. Ever since then, I get to train with him four days a month in Wilmington, NC. paws4people, in conjunction with the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, trains him to learn approximately ninety commands that I will learn before I can take him home. These commands will enable me to teach LINCOLN what I need and also help protect me in case an event occurs that I am not comfortable with.

LINCOLN is not an emotional support animal. He is a certified medical/psychological assistance dog. That means he falls under the rules of the federal Americans With Disability Act. LINCOLN can go with me anywhere I can, to include plane rides and restaurants.

I am so appreciative of the volunteers at paws4people. Had it not been for them, I would be in a lot of trouble. My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is very hard to deal with. Seeing a Psychologist helps, but it’s not enough. I still was not able to leave my house or go out shopping because of my mental illness. Now that I am training with LINCOLN, I am able to leave the house and go places that I never would have done before. My life is a lot more normal now and I’m hoping to make my life even better with the help of LINCOLN.

I highly recommend that veterans and civilians alike, give paws4people a chance to help them. Also, a donation of any amount to this nonprofit is an easy way to “Pay it Forward” for people who have read this testimonial.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Today I went out to eat at a local diner. I happened to run into a couple friends, who invited me to join them. I was happy to accept their invitation and we had a good time.

At first glance the whole situation seems painstakingly ordinary, just three friends sharing a meal. Yet under the table lay three extraordinary service dogs. At the table: taking a sip of his coffee was a 70 something year old USMC Vietnam veteran, sprinkling salt on her potatoes was a twenty something year old sexual assault survivor, and wolfing down his sandwich was a 30 something year old USMC OEF veteran. Perhaps unlikely friends, but fate and a special organization called paws4people brought us together. Today we are simply three friends, eating breakfast. Conversation is generally light hearted. Yet, at one point I find myself saying, "I don't know where I'd be if I had never found paws4people." In the silence that follows, the older marine states, "I know where I'd be without my dog, six feet under." My buddy looks out the window and nods in agreement, as I reach down to pet my dog.

1 ali233

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the owner/director of Jenkins Preschool Academy. We are fortunate enough to have COLLIER as our Facility Dog from paws4people. COLLIER is into her second school year with us, and we continue to reap the benefits daily! COLLIER helps create a warm, homey atmosphere as she greets the children and families each morning. Every child has formed a bond with her in one way or another such as helping to walk her to class (reducing the child's anxiety about separating from mom), coming to visit her when he/she is sad, welcoming COLLIER into the classroom to help with daily lessons and many other ways. Having our own Facility Dog is a wonderful experience for the children, families and staff at JPA. The children love to follow COLLIER on instagram @preschoolpup_jpa!

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2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received a Certified Education Assisted Facility Dog in June 2017 to work at my preschool. In just her first year there I have seen how much COLLIER has impacted the students and families here. Her presence helps create a sense of calm and routine as each child knows they will be greeted by her at the door. She has helped children work through anxiety and fears when parents drop off. She is also crucial in helping us teach about feelings and empathy. I can't say enough great things about paws4people and their dogs!!

1 Joe R.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Paws4people is the most amazing service dog organization I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with. Their staff is professional and treats you like family. I don’t know where’d I’d be today without their help. They really are lifesavers, and their training program is the most efficient one I have come across. Their screening process makes sure that the right clients get into the program, and once you are a client they will never give up on you. Whom ever is struggling with issues that could benefit from a service dog, Paws4people is on par with excellence.

1 Lissa H.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I most likely would have ended my own life if it had not been for this sweet girl. I have agoraphobia and chronic severe depression. WINDE brought me hope and a new life. She taught me how to live in the moment instead of in my head. She got me out of my house and outside again. Paws4people was with us during the whole training process but also anytime I needed to reach out. I am forever grateful that my life was led to them and WINDE. Paws4people is more than an agency, they become an extended family and are made up of some of the most wonderful people you can know.

1 Barbara Place K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ATKINS is a Rehabilitative Facility Dog utilized to prevent and mitigate the symptoms of dental anxiety in our dental office. The incredible training that she received from paws4people enables her to assist with adults and children to create a great dental experience. It is estimated that 40 million Americans don't receive dental care because they suffer from dental phobia. Dental phobia prevents them from going to the dentist at all. We have had several patients with dental phobia seek out our office because of ATKINS and the Animal Assisted Therapy she provides. These same patients have improved their quality of life because they were able to have dental treatment completed. Thank you paws4people for committing to transform lives!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was introduced to paws4people by being a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where their on campus dog training program is located. I was having a rough time in life dealing with recent trauma, which made me want to give up on a lot of things. My friends didn't understand the hardships I was facing, so they were starting to leave me out of things, I couldn't focus in school and began failing classes, and I just overall didn't feel like myself. However, instead of trying a million medications or giving up, I sought the help from paws4people. I was introduced to TOBY in October 2017 and my life quickly changed. He was exactly what I needed to complete my life and push me forward. I found confidence in myself again; I began passing all of my classes again; I wasn't as afraid to go out in public anymore because I always had my buddy with me; and I was able to reconnect with lost friendships. I also met a lot of people who understood what I had been through, which was huge for me. I could talk to people who knew what I had been through and who I could relate to. I've made some of the best friends I could ever ask for, heard incredible testimonies, and attended meaningful events all because of paws4people.

Presley G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am incredibly grateful to be apart of this community. I was welcomed in with open arms and I have felt nothing but support from the staff since the day of my bump. I currently do not have my dog, BARROW, home with me yet, but as we continue to grow together as a team I'm sure he will be home in no time! Since joining Paws4People, my spirits have lifted, it's easier to get out of bed, it's easier to socialize, and the biggest gift of all that was given to me is that I finally have hope for my future. This organization truly is for the people and want nothing but the best for their clients and their dogs. I can't wait to have BARROW home and I am forever thankful to call myself a member of the Paws4People family.

Lauren K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

CREEK has changed my life in ways I cannot express. He has brought a sense of peace to me and has allowed me to live a better life! I feel like I am living again for the first time in years and I believe it will only get better! I am forever grateful to paws4people/paws4vets.
Anthony R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

DELLA has definitely made a positive impact on mine and my family's lives. She has given me a reason to keep trying and to not give up. We go to work at a public job 5 days a week and other people see us together and I think it makes a positive impact on their lives as well. Thank you so much paws4people/paws4vets...when the chips were down you came through for me.
Forever Grateful, mark and DELLA

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with paws4people has been awesome. I have started a new journey that I never knew existed. I would never have thought that I would have people helping me that didn't even know me. These people actually care about helping people get their lives back and on the road to recovery. I will forever be greatful and do my best to give back to them to help save other Veterans from traveling down a dead end path that no one comes back from.
Thank you paws4people for caring and for introducing me to DELLA.
Sincerely, mark

p4pvet

Client Served

Rating: 5

They are great! Since teaming my dog, BOAZ and me together, I'm able to go out more often and with less anxiety. Also my nightmares have diminished. paws4people/paws4vets is more than an organization; they are a family! Thank you paws4people. We look forward to seeing you again.

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

They have connected my husband with a great friend, his dog, BOAZ. He has enabled him to go back out into the world; to get out of the house and to enjoy some of the things he use to before his accident. Also paws4people/paws4vets is more than an organization, they are a family...

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1 Amy Carpenter G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is my daughter and her service dog, SULLIVAN. We met SULLIVAN in March 2017 after being accepted into the program with paws4people. SULLIVAN gave Hannah her life back She is there for her when she is anxious; she gives her the courage to leave the house; she provides comfort when she has awful nightmares; most of all, SULLIVAN provides unconditional love to Hannah. We are so grateful for paws4people. Without their program and generous support, I don't know where we would be today. paws4people is amazing.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran and am 100% Service connected disabled due to PTSD, profound hearing loss and various joint problems.
I was first diagnosed with PTSD in 1985 and afterward just dealt with it- or at least
as much as possible. It returned with a vengeance three years ago due to the death of my best Nam buddy. I could not visit him in his last days due to some of my own health problems at that time.That exacerbated my survivor guilt and other issues as well.
I became even more hyper-vigilant, thinking people were breaking into my home. I keep imagining I was hearing sounds even though "intellectually " I knew there weren't. I set up Nest Cams throughout my house and garage to view all entrances and was able to view them on my iphone. It was extremely worse at night- and compounded with nightmares and flashbacks ( or as one psychiatrist told me : " Intrusive thoughts " ) does not make for a restful night ! At times, I didn't even trust the cameras and wound up physically checking my surroundings.
After talking with my latest therapist he and I both felt having a Service Dog would help me feel much more secure especially one capable of alerting me when there are sounds ... or someone inside, " My perimeter ". We also felt a Service Dog would calm me throughout the entire day and night in dealing with several of my " Triggers ".
I applied to four Service Dog groups and was accepted into all. That is either a comment on my luck or how "messed up " I was. I visited all four and after listening to Terry Henry ( of paws4vets ) describe the program I immediately knew this was THE ONE for me.
Initially I was extremely nervous since I never had a dog and at my age then ( 71 ) how would the training go ? The training is VERY thorough and hence, stressful. I was allowed to take EMBRY home after six months and red- vested in eight. They always emphasize they are all about the DOGS. However, the program is more like a family. They are always with you and I am as close to some other clients as I am to friends I have known far longer.
What has EMBRY done for me ? Several years ago i physically attacked my girlfriend while in the throes of a flashback. THAT hasn't happened since . I no longer check my security cameras where in the past I sometimes did six times every night.
I am a lot calmer and do not blow up as I once did.EMBRY keeps me calm by anchoring me during the day and at night has awakened me before a nightmare gets going, EMBRY is very much tuned to me and as an example I was on my laptop two weeks ago with the V.A. ( which by itself is very stressful ) and she literally jumped into my lap and wound up blocking the screen. I took her " advice " and took a break:-)
There are no real words to describe the bond EMBRY and I share. I feel as if I've had her for far longer than the five we've been together. I feel as another veteran said, " It's like having someone in your fighting hole !"
This group is amazing and the charge for these miraculous dogs .... not one penny. This group changes lives... and saves lives !!!
Nick Travis

1 Jeff H.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

paws4people has changed my life. I was afraid of going into public settings; panic attacks plagues me; and I was battling crippling depression. After I met BLU, my life changed forever. I know have the freedom that I didn't have before and I am living life again. Thank you paws4people.

-Jeff and BLU

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2

Client Served

Rating: 5

paws4people has changed my life! I was suicidal, depressed and could not function. paws4people came in and guided me on the path to happiness. I was matched with BLU and my entire world changed forever. I am now able to begin living the happy life that I so much yearned for. A fantastic organization!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My life was falling apart. I had been compliant with my medication and with therapy but my life was still falling apart. When my doctor recommended a service dog I was skeptical. I didn't think I'd qualify for any programs since most are veteren pr children only. When I found paws4people I was sure that I wouldn't be accepted but my fiance convinced me to apply anyway. Less than 20 minutes after sending the initial email I was asked to fill out a full application. I couldn't motivate myself to do it and dragged my feet. They called to check on me. That's when I realized what kind of organization this was. Every organization member I spoke to on the phone was kind and professional. When I was accepted their deputy executive director called me to tell me personally.
I was matched with a dog in July and was a mess during the entire event. They took their time to speak to me, reassure me, and let me know that they were going to help me.
This is an organization that is full of the kindest and caring people I have ever met. They're invested in helping me and every other client. They are not only available if we need them but actively reach out as well.

Alexa M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a special education teacher, and paws4people gifted me with the best tool I could’ve ever asked for. His name is FOREST! FOREST is a facility dog in my classroom. I teach 12 students on the autism spectrum. They have many different abilities and needs. FOREST has been a huge asset to all of us. He is there to comfort my students when they are upset, he motivates them to talk and play with his spunky personality, he assists them by picking things up for them, and he bonds with them in a very special way. Not only does FOREST serve my classroom, but he serves the whole school! All of the students, and even the staff members look forward to seeing him everyday. Students throughout the school who may be going through tough times at home, have the opportunity to come in and love on him. You can tell it just brightens their day. He also boosts students’ confidence with their reading skills by being the best listener during read aloud time. All in all, FOREST is a huge blessing to my students, my school, and myself! I am so grateful to paws4people for gifting us with this sweet, perfect boy.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

paws4people is an amazing non-profit! I discovered this organization through the Service Dog Training Program classes offered at UNCW in 2015, and I absolutely fell in love! Since then I have stayed actively involved in this organization. I strongly believe in the mission, and the positive impacts their dogs have on so many people's lives. I have personally been touched by not only the dogs, but the people involved in this organization. paws4people makes everyone feel like family, and they are always there to support anyone in need. All in all, paws4people does outstanding work for the community and all people involved by educating everyone on the amazing things that service dogs can do, and by placing highly trained service dogs with so many people in need!

Brett B.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without Paws4People I would not have been able to function. I knew I needed help when I was diagnosed with heart disease. It was debilitating on a good day and even though I believe in the power of prayer I wasn’t getting better. It wasn’t until I met URBAN Dec 2017. He empowered me to “do” again. Gave me purpose through freedom from my crippling disease. Gave my family freedom to live their lives and know I was in good “paws”. Thanks to URBAN I can LIVE again. Thank you Paws4People for being the miracle God intended for me.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with paws4people has been absolutely amazing!! Every single person within the organization regardless of if it is staff, volunteers, or other clients are always there to welcome you with open arms. You definitely get an extended family when you are a part of paws4people. Thanks to them I have my 4 legged best friend CLAUDE who is there right beside me every step of the way no matter what. I know that no matter what I face or what is going on that he is right there with me ready to help and support me. Having CLAUDE has given me back a lot of the independence that having a physical disability and using a wheelchair takes away from you. Having CLAUDE there to help me with whatever I struggle with on my own even if it as simple as picking up something that I dropped, means that is one more way that I am now independent. Thanks to paws4people and CLAUDE I feel like I am finally able to live and pursue the independent life that I have always strived for. There is not enough that can be said about paws4people and the amazing work that they do, it is truly life changing.

jnjwall

Client Served

Rating: 5

CANYON has changed our lives by calming his boy during meltdowns and has brought so much joy to our lives. We love our boy!!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was matched with CANYON in September of 2015. This dog has been such an amazing addition to our family. He helps mitigate emotional distress when his anxiety is heightened and negative behaviors begin. We are very grateful to be a part of such an amazing foundation.

2 John Greg F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

paws4people and paws4vets for me has been a life-saving Foundation. They have went beyond all of my expectations to provide all the support I could possibly need. They bend over backwards to help any and all clients involved in their programs. They never give up on an individual. Their Annual re-certification program puts them head and shoulders above all the rest. I have been part of a team with my dog MERCER since 2015. paws4people and paws4vets saved my life by helping me. They have helped hundreds of people both veterans, civilians, first responders and others. They are on a different level all to themselves by the support they provide their service dogs, clients, and all invoolved.