Our mission is educating and empowering people to utilize Assistance Dogs to transform their lives.
We provide highly trained, customized, and insured Assistance Dogs to people with disabilities, as well as clinical and education professionals serving people with disabilities. We work to exceed industry training and utilization standards for all of our Assistance Dogs, and to increase the public’s knowledge about the important roles these dogs serve within society.
paws4people also does not train dogs to pre-alert to epileptic seizures. We do train Assistance Dogs to respond to epileptic seizures by doing any number of tasks needed by that client; for example alerting a parent, bringing the phone, opening the garage door, etc.
It is paws4people’s philosophy that Assistance Dogs ARE able to pre-alert to epileptic seizures. In fact, many of our dogs perform this skill reliably. HOWEVER, it is not possible to “train” Assistance Dogs to do this, because modern medicine cannot yet identify the stimulus (hormone excretion, neurological change, etc.) that consistently precedes this type of seizure activity. Without the presence of a known and proven stimulus by which to train an Assistance Dog, actual training cannot occur. This is why, in order to maintain the highest level of professional honesty and trust with our clients, we do not profess to train epileptic seizure alert skills – only response skills.
We strongly believe that with proper application of an Assistance Dog to other educational and therapeutic interventions, significant improvements can be found in areas such as:
• Self-initiated and appropriate communication; manual, augmentative, or verbal
• Initiation and engagement in social relationships
• Regulation with more socially appropriate self-soothing strategies
• Recognition and processing of feelings and emotions
• Increased tolerance for emotional and sensory experiences.
• Abstract critical thinking and problem solving
These benefits can be realized through Direct Placement of an Assistance Dog with an individual; as well as through Indirect Placements of Facility Dogs with education and therapy professionals who utilize these Facility Dogs within their workplace. The amazing benefits of Facility Dogs within the educational setting as applied to students with Autism can be seen in our groundbreaking relationship with The Lionheart School and their school’s Canine Assisted Education Dog, LANGLEY.
There are ways in which paws4people does not facilitate or certify the use of Assistance Dogs for children, specifically children with Autism. Due to our philosophy, training protocols, and focus on safety and success of our Assistance Dog teams, paws4people will not train, certify, or insure any Assistance Dog to be tether trained, or as a personal tracking/search and rescue dog.
1) It “encourages” you, the Client, to use and maintain the physical and medical condition of the Assistance Dog,
2) It protects the Assistance Dog (we have had Clients who fall off-the-wagon, so to speak), and we can therefore act quickly to re-possess the Assistance Dog
3) It enables the Assistance Dog to be insured under our Foundation liability insurance policy, which adds an additional layer of protection for you and the Assistance Dog;
4) It enables the required annual re-certification of the ADA public access of you and the Assistance Dog; and
5) If a Client, uses the Assistance Dog for the purposes for which it was given to the Client, cares for the Assistance Dog, and loves the Assistance Dog, then the “ownership” issue is totally transparent and is never an issue. If on the other hand, a Client discontinues to utilize the Assistance Dog for the purposes intended, mistreats the Assistance dog, thereby proving that he or she do not love the Assistance Dog, then the “ownership” issue provides maximum protection for the Assistance Dog.
Please see our Pay-It-Forward section below for more information.
Puppies who are born in our internal Breeding Program and begin training literally the day of birth have a 99.9% graduation rate as Assistance Dog level or higher. (Meaning, there has not yet been one of these dogs who has not graduated as an Assistance Dog; but we’re too superstitious to say 100%!)
Dogs who are obtained from selected breeders and enter the training programs at seven to twelve weeks of age have above an 85% graduation rate as Assistance Dog level or higher.
Dogs who are obtained from shelters or rescue groups to enter our training programs have above a 60% graduation rate as Assistance Dog level or higher.
Dogs who are unable to meet our stringent criteria for Assistance Dog certifications can be placed as Emotional Support Dogs within our system. These Dogs are placed as in-home only companions with senior citizens, families with members with disabilities, or paws4people volunteers. Therefore, they are still fulfilling paws4people missions of providing some level of therapeutic intervention.
To read about Assistance Dogs in the Community click this link.
Dogs that are trained to perform a minimum of three (3) tasks to mitigate the effects of an individual’s physical, neurological, psychological, or other medical related disability or disabilities. The Assistance Dog provides help in conducting everyday life skills, thus enabling the Private Placement Client (PPC) to perform more independently than they otherwise would without their Assistance Dog.
Dogs that are trained, certified and placed with a specific individual who will use the Facility Dog within his/her profession and/or volunteer activities to provide educational instruction or therapeutic interventions, medical or environmental aid, methodologies to students with “special needs”, or support to individuals with a physical, neurological, psychological, or other medical related disability or disabilities.
Emotional Support Dogs:
Dogs that are specially trained to provide comfort to their handler(s) within their own home and other dog-friendly environments.
Under some circumstances, on very rare occasions and on a case-by-case basis (at the determination of the Executive Director, paws4people foundation), dogs which have received formal training through non-paws4people foundation training programs may be evaluated and granted certain paws4people foundation certifications; up to and including Facility Dog or Assistance Dog certifications.
Please visit our application page and click on the “Facility Client” and “Indirect Client” buttons towards the top to learn more information on this topic.
The Pay-It-Forward (PIF) campaign is a separate and distinct process whereby a Client voluntarily engages in fundraising, awareness, or other operational efforts on behalf of the organization, thus helping the organization to continue to provide more Assistance Dogs for more people. It also provides a mechanism whereby Client can engage in activities outside their normal comfort level(s), thus allowing them to get involved in a process that is “bigger-than-themselves,” which can provide therapeutic benefits in and of itself. It also allows a Client the opportunity to engage in and become members of the “paws4people family” and to help those who will come after them; because the same opportunity was afforded them by those Clients who came before them. Thus, the definition of the “Pay-It-Forward” concept. Clients are asked as part of the application to acknowledge their willingness to conduct a PIF campaign.
Each paws4people/paws4vets Direct Client* is asked to raise $10,000 between their “Bump” and their Graduation.
*A Direct Client is defined as a person with whom a certified paws4people/paws4vets Assistance Dog or Facility Dog is placed in his/her conditional custody.
*Indirect Clients are not required to complete Pay-It-Forward Campaigns. They are instead subject to the tuition fee structure of the Indirect Client Certification Program. They are also subject to all other policies and procedures of the organization.
*An Indirect Client is defined as a person with an “Assistance Dog” trained by another ADI or non-ADI organization, a private trainer, or self-trained who wishes to earn certification with paws4people/paws4vets.
The average paws4people Client (since 2009, and based upon records availability) who has participated in a Pay-It-Forward campaign, has raised $8,200. The average paws4vets Client (during the same time period) who has participated in a Pay-It-Forward campaign has raised $12,400. Thus, $10,000/Client goal was created as a very realistic goal based upon historical data.
Since we placed our first Assistance Dogs, we have asked Clients to “Pay-It-Forward.” Essentially, we were able to raise and train your dog, in part, thanks to the efforts of paws4people Clients and volunteers who came before you. Now, it is your turn to Pay It Forward. We have found that Clients who participate in these campaigns are much more invested in receiving, utilizing, and caring for their Assistance Dog. Furthermore, we have found that setting a minimum contribution goal for Clients ensures that they take an active role in the “sweat equity” mentality of the Pay-It-Forward concept.
A minimum contribution goal for clients ensures that they take an active role in the “sweat equity” mentality of the Pay-It-Forward concept.
Upon being accepted as a Conditional Client, your paws4people or paws4vets Client Advocate and a dedicated PIF Advocate will assist and support you with your PIF campaign. They can assist you with ideas, help you to create a plan, and ensure you have the materials you need and other paws4people representatives present to support any publicity or events.
We will assist you by setting up a page all about you and your future Assistance Dog on our website.
Many of our Clients Pay-It-Forward by simply emailing family, friends, and their community with the link to their story. There, people can donate directly to your PIF Campaign.
Many Clients have so much fun and success during their PIF events that they continue their event and/or fundraising effort in their community annually in order to provide scholarships for other Clients well into the future.
We understand that some Clients have extenuating circumstances for which fundraising may be prohibitive. For this reason, the Application Committee may select a maximum of one Client per Bump cycle to receive a scholarship from the scholarship fund. These Clients may be asked to participate in publicity or events that are held by the organization to raise money for the scholarship fund, as they are able to do so. Excess funds raised by other Clients will also contribute to this availability.
While participation in some sort of Pay-It-Forward campaign is a required part of our placement process, public fundraising is not required. Some Clients instead contribute themselves, have their families contribute/donate, apply for grants, or seek corporate or business sponsorships or donations.
Some Clients offset the monetary value of the PIF goal by performing “sweat equity.” When Clients are willing to travel to represent the organization at events, give an interview to a media outlet on behalf of the organization, fill a volunteer position within the organization, etc. “non-cash” value is added to their PIF as well. Some Clients have well exceeded $10,000 of “value added” to the organization without ever soliciting or contributing any actual funds. So truly, fundraising is not required to successfully participate in the PIF set up.
paws4people does not believe that one can be “anonymous” living in their community with an Assistance Dog. The very nature of having an Assistance Dog in public brings passive disclosure that the person has a disability which an Assistance Dog mitigates. Although a Client never has to disclose the nature of their disability for any reason, navigating the world with an Assistance Dog necessitates that a Client be a good ambassador for assistance dogs in the community. As such, paws4people does not believe in allowing Clients to be “anonymous” in the Client process. We do, however, make accommodations for Clients who need different levels of anonymity due to validated security concerns.
These accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis by the management team, and do not forfeit the responsibility to participate in the PIF mentality; albeit perhaps in different or non-publicized ways.
Any amount a Client is able to generate above and beyond the $10,000 goal may be designated from general operating funds by paws4people for inclusion in the paws4people/paws4vets Client Scholarship fund.
Our placement process is very long and complex. Multiple factors dictate when a Dog and Client are ready for permanent placement to include: the Dog’s training progress, the Client’s training progress, organization scheduling, and other factors. We treat each team on an individual basis to ensure their ultimate success. That being said, if all of these factors are met and the team is otherwise ready for placement, if the Client has not been participatory in their PIF campaign, the placement may be suspended. However, if the Client has been participatory but is yet to reach their goal, the placement may proceed while the Client continues towards their funding goal. The goal of the PIF campaign is not the set amount of funds, but rather the Client’s involvement, passion, and dedication as part of the paws4people family. PARTICIPATION & EFFORT are what matters.
Your PIF Advocate will begin creating a Pay-It-Forward plan with you, based on your abilities and interests, as soon as you are accepted as a Conditional Client. We recommend you follow their advice and begin right away, so that you can meet the following goals:
Analysis of financial data shows that in the 2013-2014 fiscal year shows:
PIF income total was $50,882
Overall Income was $325,599 (contributions) + $81.82 (earned interest) + $118,424 (fundraising events) = $444,105 (total income)
Therefore PIF income was 11.4% of total organizational income.
Therefore, the organization is not solely reliant upon PIF campaigns; however, without the support the Clients’ PIF efforts, our output of dogs would decrease substantially.
copyright © 2017 paws4people.org
Professional Photos © Joan Brady