Karen Shirk’s dream from the beginning was to create an opportunity for a large segment of people who were often overlooked or under-served in the service dog industry. Her dream was a big one, but one step at a time she pushed forward and was able to create the organization we know today as 4 Paws For Ability. There were plenty of challenges and endless amounts of hard work, but Karen has always been fueled by a higher purpose.
Her unshakeable commitment is why we are now able to say, “Happy 15th Anniversary 4 Paws!”
And more importantly, her efforts are why we are also able to say, “Congratulations on reaching over 700 service dog placements.” For a non-profit with such a small and humble beginning, that’s a huge achievement – multiplied by the understanding that each individual dog impacts the lives of many from the moment its career begins. It’s a testimony reminding us that just one person can make a huge difference.
To commemorate this joyous milestone will be a gala, held at the lovely Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio on Saturday, October 19th from 6:30-9:30pm. The event will be a chance to bring together the friends, families, staff, supporters and affiliates of 4 Paws in celebration. But like most things done by the organization, the gala will also have a very special purpose – to raise money for its building fund.
Generating the funds for such a large construction project may seem like a daunting goal, but it’s most certainly no match for Karen’s passion. She’s passionate about the renovations because they mean much more than a facelift. The expanded building and upgraded facilities mean the capacity to assist even more people. It’s a level of growth that is much more than a want – it’s a necessity.
The demand for an agency like 4 Paws has always been huge. For years there was an entire community of people denied service dogs or unable to find one with the skills they specifically needed. Over the course of 15 years, 4 Paws has served this community, and in doing so has grown rapidly and garnered an abundance of media attention. Newspapers around the world have spread the word, including large media outlets like The New York Times and CNN. The ever-increasing awareness of 4 Paws For Ability has made it possible for more and more families to find the help they need, but it also means the organization has to work hard to keep up with the increasing demand. It’s a challenge Karen welcomes, but is also the reason a new building is high on the priority list.
Below is a copy of the official gala invitation, which includes details on the event and how to register. If you have any additional questions or would like to know about other ways you can help, please email Whitney@4PawsForAbility.org. Updates regarding the evening will be added in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
We hope you can join us for this special occasion as we celebrate 15 years and work towards an even bigger and brighter future!