I have a dream, that sometime in the very near future, I will make an afternoon visit to a paws4people™ canine placement volunteer. She will proceed to tell me about the calls she has received so far that day from people seeking the services that paws4people™ has grown to offer:
- The father of a wheelchair-bound teenager from Charleston, South Carolina, is in need of a companion and service animal for his child.
- The son of an elderly woman in Savannah, Georgia who has lost her husband, desiring a canine companion to help his mother cope with and recover from her loss.
- A newly retired woman in South Riding, Virginia, is hoping to acquire a dog so that she may implement an “I Care Dog” program at her granddaughter’s school to provide motivation to struggling and special needs children.
- A senior citizen couple from Greensboro, North Carolina, looking for a home where they are free of the burdens of maintenance but where they can keep their pets and participate in volunteer projects to remain active.
Our paws4people™ volunteer was able to direct each of these calls to departments just footsteps away, and all of the above individuals were set up with appointments to meet their new therapy dog at the paws4people™foundation Complex.
The paws4people™foundation Complex, located on 200-300 acres of beautiful northern Virginia countryside, will be alive with the golden magic of a never-ending staff of paws4people™ dogs. Here, our loving canines will thrive in abundance, and bless the many on-site facilities with their constant presence. The ultimate result of this complex will be to create a network of people and canines, a family of people joined by the indescribable power of dogs, the paws4people™ family.
The complex will house several carefully planned facilities. Each facility will fulfill a particular niche within the overall paws4people™ mission, while all interacting with each other.
They will include…
- two Kennel facilities, home for the dogs, while they are undergoing various stages of training. Here, the dogs will enjoy lounging indoors on couches and will be lovingly groomed frequently, just as they would in any home. They will also get to run and play in the outdoor exercise areas, full of trees, like their own backyards.
- a K-9 training academy where the dogs will be trained from the age of six weeks to 15 months. Here, the paws4people™ training syllabus will be taught by professional dog trainers in several different training rooms. The puppy kindergarten room, for example, will be relatively empty, a place for the youngest dogs to learn the “basics.” Other rooms will simulate the environment of a hospital room, nursing home, or classroom, for more advanced training. Later, the dogs’ training will be transferred to “on location” assignments at other facilities within the complex. Finally, the training will be transferred during classes with the therapy dog’s new handler and/or family.
- a veterinary hospital with a state-of-the art breeding and birthing facility. This will provide a home for the paws4people™ puppy litters, ensuring the puppies are healthy and perfectly prepared for their calling. The vet hospital will be equipped to provide routine canine medical care as well as any surgical needs that may arise for the resident dogs of all ages. We will also have a staff of veterinarians involved in research to prevent and eliminate animal health problems-particularly those common to the paws4people™ canine breeds. We hope to not only enhance the lives of the humans we touch, but the dogs we love and depend on each day. Eventually, we will also provide veterinary scholarships to students who wish to help fulfill the paws4people™ mission.
- Dual-Occupancy townhouse residences for paws4peopleTM “special needs” staff members. These mentally or physically challenged individuals will serve as employees of paws4people™, and will reap the benefits of interacting with the dogs, while simultaneously having employment and independence. In addition, there will be a Staff Group Home for the slightly less independent “special needs” staff members.
- two-bedroom homes for independent retired seniors. These seniors will volunteer at any of the other facilities within the complex, thereby remaining active while being free from the responsibilities of the outdoor maintenance of their homes. Perhaps the best thing about these homes is that-unlike many other independent living facilities-the seniors won’t have to leave their pets behind, but will be encouraged to bring them along to share their new home.
- a senior assisted-living and rehabilitation facility whose occupants will benefit not only from the care and love provided in ordinary retirement facilities, but from the constant presence of paws4people™ therapy dogs. There will be numerous “resident” dogs here, as well as visits from other paws4people™ dogs of various ages.
- a Special Education Academy to provide education for those students with special needs. These students will include, but will not be limited to: autistic, wheelchair-bound, mentally handicapped, emotionally disabled, learning disabled, Downs Syndrome, and other very special children from the ages of pre-school to early adulthood. They will also benefit from the constant presence of paws4people™ education therapy canines. In addition to their education being enhanced by canines, these students will also have a staff of highly qualified special education teachers. All of the Academy educators will complete a course to become paws4people™ canine-assisted special education (CASE) teachers. Eventually, we will also provide scholarships to students wishing to become CASE teachers.
- a Hospice Inn for those individuals in need of end-of-life medical treatment. The spirit of this facility will be brightened by the constant presence of paws4people™ dogs providing end-of-life and grief therapy services. Their families will be comforted knowing that their loved one’s final days are being spent with the tender affection of some of paws4people™’s most special canines.
- a third kennel facility will serve as a No-Kill dog rescue living facility as well as a home for the retired paws4people™ service dogs. We will never have to turn down a dog for lack of space, and will provide a place of affection and comfort to those dogs who have never before had such a home. These rescued dogs will also have the opportunity to complete paws4people™ training and become a source of placement animals for spouseless seniors. This kennel will also be a second home for dogs whose owners have passed away, so that no senior will have to worry about the future care of his or her dog. In addition, retired paws4people™ therapy dogs will get to relax and enjoy the comforts of this homey facility.
The most remarkable aspect of this grand vision is that no facility will act independently. The senior assisted-living center, Special Education Academy, and Hospice Inn will provide real-life training locations for paws4people™ dogs in the final stages of their training. This ensures they will be fully prepared for their work once placed with their therapy families. In turn, no staff member, resident, or student will ever be out of hands reach of the devotion and service of a paws4people™ dog.
The vision of paws4people™ is one of endless potential. It will serve people in need in all stages of life as well as allow those who are more fortunate to feed their hearts by serving others. Today, the promise of paws4people™ lies in your hands. My dream is for paws4people™ to have the ability to provide a qualified animal to each person desiring the amazing love of a canine. This complex is the simple yet indispensable first step of the dream; a place where people are not only being helped, but simultaneously helping countless others. It is my sincere plea, that should you be able to help us accomplish this mission in any way, please contact us at:
1121 C-324 Military Cut Off Rd
Wilmington NC 28405
Or Click Here to help right now!
The personal goal of:
Terry Henry, Chairman and Executive Director:
"To have at least 2,500 working paws4people™ therapy dogs and one Complex."
Kyria Henry, Founder & Deputy Executive Director, paws4people™ & Executive Director, paws4people™ foundation of West Virginia:
"To have at least five of these Complexes throughout the country."