XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – 4 Paws for Ability trains and provides service dogs for children and veterans across the country. Puppies are trained at the facility’s puppy house.
It’s there you can find several litters wrestling and chewing toys. These pups are playful now but they’ll be working as service dogs soon.
“They can alert parents to the fact that their children is going to have seizures or that their child’s blood sugar is high or low,” said Karen Shirk, CEO for 4 paws for Ability. Shirk said the dogs can also detect a PTSD episode before a veteran can.
She recalls a family who, after training with a service dog, was finally able to go to the mall without fears their autistic child would climb the second floor railing.
“Tethered to the dog, he was finally able to do that. So, they didn’t have to have a death grip on him and they were actually able to relax,” Shirk said.
But now, they’re facing a challenge with their puppy house. The current space is 100-year-old building. Shirk said it is falling apart. Puppies have to be kept separate for health reasons so they need their own facility. Sanitation and cleanliness are a big part of the operation.
“A new building will help us keep it even cleaner and take even better care of the puppies because they are very valuable to our program since the grow up and help a child or veteran,” Shirk said.
4 Paws for Abilities is asking for donations. The goal is to raise $2 million. So far about half of that is raised, about 90-percent by individual donors.
Shirk is hoping more individuals can help continue her mission of helping people with disabilities live an independent life.
“We would love to break ground sometime next year so we would need to get that raised by that raised by the end of this year,” said Shirk.
Anyone wanting to donate should head to their website and specify the donation is for the puppy house. Click here for that or they can drop off a check at the facility.