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4 Paws For Ability Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: Enriching the lives of people with disabilities by placing life-changing service dogs worldwide.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 100 people 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

232 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6 Joanna15

Client Served

Rating: 5

4 Paws is simply the best! From their founder to their lead trainer, to everyone in between, 4 Paws exemplifies the best of what it means to provide qualified, happy, healthy service dogs to children and Veterans. They all go above and beyond during training to make sure all of your questions are answered and that you and your dog are ready to go home together. They even have a Veterinarian on staff (and in house) to ensure that all the dogs are well cared for. Once home, you are given numbers to call for 24/7 help from the lead trainer to assist you should any unforeseen questions arise. My daughter received her seizure alert dog in 2014 and we have seen first hand what a blessing and help a 4 Paws dog brings to not only their partner, but the entire family. We are firm believers in 4 Paws and the 4 Paws magic!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Please please PLEASE do not support this organization! If you want, go see for yourself. Walk in and it's crates stacked on crates. Their facility is disgusting, and dogs at shelters are treated better. Many of their dogs have psychological and physical issues due to being stuck in crates for the majority of their lives. They're SOCIAL animals and need interaction...all 4 Paws is concerned about is the money they get. They also have no idea what they're doing breeding wise. The CEO has absolutely zero business skills and general knowledge of proper breeding. A golden retriever litter was born there and NONE of the litter (out of 5 dogs) didn't make it. Two were diagnosed with hip dysplasia before the age of 1 and the other 3 were very nervous. They just bred the same Sire dam! That is awful! They're placing dogs with families with behavioral issues and very poor breeding. Please do not support this abusive and awful organization.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This company sucks. Its their way ornthe highway and theyre all about getting your money!!! Do yourself a favor and give someone else your business.

5 Cars 4 Causes

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We are proud to support 4 Paws For Ability Inc. through our Cars 4 Causes Vehicle Donation Program. The funds generated through this program go far to help them provide service dogs to children with disabilities and Veterans who have lost limbs or hearing. It is our pleasure to assist 4 Paws For Ability Inc. in their open-hearted efforts to provide service animals to the people they serve. This organization is impacting lives!

4 Chris150

Donor

Rating: 5

My grandson will be receiving a seizure assistance dog from 4 Paws next month (June 2014)! Thank goodness 4 Paws works with children who need service dogs - since my grandson is 8 years old. We have worked with this organization fundraising for this dog - and have been treated with concern and encouragement. We can't wait to take the 2 week training class. Karen Shirk has had an amazing story and has been helping children and veterans meet their needs while enabling each of them have a better quality of life.

3 Charla

Client Served

Rating: 5

4 paws for ability changed our lives. they gave my daughter a best friend. we can now go shopping or for walks something my 6 year old Shyanna could never do due to her autism.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter received a service dog from 4 Paws last summer and we are beyond thrilled! The dog is incredible and a perfect match for our family. The staff at 4 Paws is available to answer questions and help solve problems (there have been very few because our training was so thorough). 4 Paws is an amazing organization and has made such a difference in our family's life, as well as so many others they have served. I highly recommend 4 Paws to any family that could benefit from a service dog- they (and the dogs they train) are FANTASTIC!

Review from Guidestar

3 Misherald B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are currently in the process of completing our service dog training with 4 Paws and I have to say I am completely amazed by this team. My son’s service dog name is Sherbert and Jonathan and her are amazing together not only is she always aware of him but she alerts to him on point. Our first alert was 8 hours ahead of time but it was not just another service dog alerted with her. My son seems amazing other for his telltale sign of the wheelchair but for the most part, he has his own set of issues and now with Sherbert in our lives I am starting to see a lot of the major things calm down. Meltdowns no longer last 3 hours we are down to about 40 minutes as well as well, as I know seizures are coming before they are there which his doctors say he medically does not have. Sherbert proves her worth within the two weeks of training. I recommend 4 Paws to anyone who wants to provide their special needs child a better quality of life as well as gain somewhat of a normal life for your family.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We received my son's service dog, Omri, in Feb 2012. He has high functioning autism. Our Service Dog has been an absolute LIFE SAVER! He has enabled us to be a "normal" family. We don't have to worry about my son bolting or running off during my other son's soccer games or practices. The meltdowns have ALMOST stopped since getting Omri. Omri seems to just know when something's not right wiht Matthew & will instinctively move to protect him or comfort him. He has also detected pneumonia, something he was NOT trained to do, in my other son. Omri is definitely a God-send & I recommend 4 Paws to anyone!

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter received her first service dog from 4 Paws in 2006. He has been working for her for the past 6 years. He is an amazing addition and help to our daughter who has a significant trauma history causing bioneurological problems. Her dog is specifically task-trained to meet her individual needs. As her dog approaches retirement, we are beginning the process of getting ready for her second dog. We recently made a trip to 4 paws and spoke to their trainers about our next dog.

Our daughter is nonverbal and uses sign language. Her next dog will likely be trained to interact with her using signs. The folks at 4 Paws bend over backwards to meet the needs of their clients. Whenever we need to call or ask questions, 4 Paws is very quick to get back to us with the answers.

We so appreciate the work they do and the outreach they provide to all their clients with disabilities.

4 Willow Arden

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I emailed this organization about their availability for possible services of which would better assist me to provide for my 9 yr. old daughter, who was only recently diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. The return email I recieved confirmed they do not provide services for our needs but it also belittled resource we created to provided a viable, not to mention legal, resource for my daughter. While I accept they do not provide the services I need, I was shocked at this response. It seemed to me, we were pigeon-holed into a category without the slightest bit of courtesy or empathy for the heart-breaking struggle someone in our position must be undergoing.

For people who are unaware, while children with HFA do not display the same impairments as low and mid functioning autism children, HFA children are often VERY actively suicidal, not to mention capable of, because they are considered to be behavioral problems. Because they are "a smart child" diagnosis is problematic, therefore they are treated with low regard by the public school system, after all, they should be able to "get over" or deal with the normal every day teasing from other children and expected to fall into line like the other kids do.

I most certainly did NOT expect nor request this organization to change their function or mission. All I am saying is that it would have been nice not to have had blind judgement so readily passed against us. We get enough of that already.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

4 Paws for Ability provides service dogs that change the lives of children with autism, seizures, crippling physical challenges, severe downs syndrome and combinations of these challenges. They are understanding, compassionate and change lives for the child and their family.

1 Robin234

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son received his Autism Service Dog in March '08 .Fred Tracks and tethers (his most important jobs for our high risk son) ,and does behavior interruption and calming pressure.He's a snuggler ,too.
I would be unable to walk through parking lots or parking garages with our child if Fred was not tethered to him.
He's been to the children's hospital for surgical procedures and waits with our son in holding before and in recovery after.
We can walk calmly through stores and hallways of buildings,now.
One of our funniest trips was to our local Aquarium .An eagle was a visitor in the lobby and never took her eyes off of Fred.
Despite our attempts at safety measures ,our son has wandered off our property before and doesn't answer,so having Fred is literally a lifesaver because he can track our child as soon as we realize he is missing.
I've been back to 4 Paws twice since we received Fred to help two other families with their child while they train . I'd happily do it again.

Review from CharityNavigator

2 Elly O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a puppy raiser for 4PawsforAbility. It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. We fostered our first service dog who was a yellow lab and is now back at the facility for advanced training. We have now brought home our 2nd foster dog a beautiful german shephard. This experience has been so rewarding for our whole family along with our community whom enjoys visits from our public social outings.

1 JudyVorfeld

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm the volunteer webmaster for 4 Paws for Ability and have a change and an addition for your profile of 4 Paws: Change: it's Xenia, Ohio (not Xienia) Link to website: http://www.4PawsForAbility.org Also sending the 4 Paws jpg logo Thanks, Judy Vorfeld

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We received an autism-assistance service dog named Vista for my son Jamaal, 13 years old, in September of this year. Vista is trained in tracking, behavior disruption and is a constant companion for Jamaal. Training is an intensive 10 days of learning about your service dog, how to care for her, how to handle her in public places and what to expect when you get home with your new family member. The patience, support and encouragement of the 4 Paws staff is incredible. Fundraising is not always easy, it can be frustrating, training is exhausting and what happens in your real world experience can be overwhelming at times, but what makes it worth it is the incredible bond created by your service dog and your child.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our deafblind daughter received her service dog over 2 years ago. The dog is a multipurpose service dog who assists with ambulation, scent recognition, object retrieval, and behavioral interruption. They have been through multiple surgeries (the dog was a big assistance in learning how to walk following hip surgeries) and her dog has been there to help with the recovery. They ride the bus to school together and in general are a great team. The dog is amazingly well trained and our daughter is now providing commands with sign language!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When looking for assistance for my son that has asperger's syndrome, I was turned away. I have been told by many that there is no help for children with aspergr's and most of all they didn't even know what asperger's syndrome was. How can anyone help wen they don't kow what it is. My son went on a feild trip (in 4th grade with me in attendance) to a place that has service dogs. This is where I found out that they has Autism Service Dogs. I immediately came home and started to google for Autism Service Dogs. 4 Paws was the only site that came up. Most of all they serviced children!!!! I was so elited that I filled out the form received the papers and started to inform the public about 4 paws! They treated me with the upmost respect and was thrilled that they even had a conversation with my son. They really know what they are doing! We are still waiting for my son's service dog, but ths is part because my son has an allergy to animals and it takes a special kind of dog to fully service him. I know that the service dog will allow my son to live a full and prosperious life without to many worries. Thanks 4 Paws for doing what you do!!!!!

1 Jackie S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

4 Paws for ability is bringing security to our family. A sense of safety for our son with Autism. The service dog will be the greatest gift we could have asked for to ease the stress in our home. We will be able to enjoy our family time and not be on edge waiting for the next issue to come along. Their support means so much to our family. They strive to help family's with disabled children and not just the child!

1 Lori W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter received a multipurpose service dog from 4 Paws for ability in December 2009. Before we received my daughters service animal, she would hide under parked cars, escape door locks like a special magic trick. On top of this, came added worries on what would happen next. My daughter had many "meltdowns", and had no friends. Once my daughter got her service animal things have changed for the better. The meltdowns have decreased, she sleeps alone with her dog beside her, and added confidence to be able to do things that was not possible before. Thanks to 4 Paws for Ability, our lives have changed so much. Without 4 paws, my daughter would not be safe and for once be happy with her new best friend.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has had his multi-purpose service dog since April 2009. Our life has changed because of this organization. I have actually gone back a number of times to be part of the miracle during other classes. If you are looking for an organization that will help you in getting a Service Dog for your loved one with a disability, 4 Paws for Ability is the one. Karen, Jeremy and the staff do a great job finding the dog that will help mitigate your loved ones needs.

2 Leah M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are getting a service dog for my teenage son who is legally blind and has multiple disabilities. Other service dog agencies will turn away a person who has more than one disability, is under 18 or already has pets in the home. But not 4 Paws, they specialize in taking the "Dis" out of disability. 4 Paws has been amazing every step of the way, from the first questions on will this work for us? To what kind of dog do we need? To how will this be funded? Preparing for the arrival of a service dog can be exciting and overwhelming, having already placed over 500 dogs 4 Paws has "been there and done that" many times... Because they are so good at it they can anticipate what families are going to need before we even know we will need it. They provide a family support network to help you every step of the way. I think we would still be wandering around in the maze of which way to go if we hadn't had such great support. Beyond the obvious benefits the person with a disability gets from having a service dog placed in their lives, 4 Paws places rescue animals when ever possible and utlizes prison inmates as dog trainers. Its a win - win - win! Just when you think it can't better, there is more! 4 Paws is also dedicated to community education and awareness about service dogs and public access.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We came to 4 PAWS FOR ABILITY during our search for an agency to supply an AUTISM SERVICE DOG for our son. This is one of a very few organizations who will place a service dog someone younger than 18. Most important, they will place dogs in homes that currently have other pets in residence, INCLUDING OTHER DOGS. In additon to the fabulous support we receive from the experts at 4 Paws - trainers, vets, etc. there is an online group - The 4 Paws Family Network - that is a FABULOUS RESOURCE for all. Parents at various stages in their service dog quest/stewardship can ask questions about anything - legal, logistical, technical, behavioral, feeding, training, etc. and hear from someone else who has been there or had a similar concern about how they addressed that dilemma. THE FAMILY NETWORK IS AN INVALUABLE SOURCE OF INFOMATION AND SUPPORT at any stage in the service dog relationship. I also appreciate their use of inmates as puppy raisers. What a fabulous way of improving life for those who've been incarcerated - providing them with something productive to do as well as someone to love who will love them back. These pups must raise the quality of life among the prisoners at least ten-fold while reducing tension at the facilities as well...a real win-win situation 4 Paws has replicated at several facilities in neighboring states.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter has autism and she could not participate in most things in life, due to her fleeing, her safety was a huge issue, she was non-verbal and has many melt downs. Our daughter received a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability 2.5 years ago. She is now very verbal, has been to the zoo, the pumpkin farm and has a better quality of life. 4 Paws was very honest about what they could offer, they assisted us in meeting our goals and they have stood behind their service dog. They are available when ever we need them. The have helped to form a community of parents and service dog owners who support each other and them in this path.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

4 Paws placed a service dog with our youngest child. The experience was amazing. The dog is exceptionally well-trained and has been in service to our child for the last 4 years. Life with a service dog from 4 Paws has been a healing experience not only for our child but also for the entire family. We re-certify her dog annually and have ongoing access to a trainer should we have any problems. This organization goes above and beyond to help clients make their life more independent and fulfilling. Thank you just doesn't seem like enough!