Thank You for your Support!

By | Fundraising

Thank you so much for making a secure donation to 4 Paws for Ability through PayPal!  If you included a note to 4 Paws for Ability, we will be sure that your donation is put towards your requested fund!  If you meant to included a designation and forgot, please email your PayPal receipt to Karen Shirk, CEO and let her know how to designate your donation (

Check out our website for other ways that you can help:

Follow along on our social media pages to see how your donation makes the difference in the life of a child:  
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Changes to 4 Paws for Ability Policy

By | Fundraising

Fundraising Now Fee For Service

Starting July 4, 2016 4 Paws for Ability will be required by IRS determination to eliminate their tax deductible family fundraising requirement in place of a fee for service.  Beginning the same date the fee for service will be $17,000.

4 Paws for Ability was selected for an audit in 2015.  During this audit, the IRS determined that they consider the former fundraising requirement as an “exchange of service”, even though the donors to each child’s fundraising do not receive anything in exchange for their donation.  We are required to be listed with the IRS as a fee for service organization and donations that benefit a child directly are no longer eligible for a tax deduction for the donor.

Clients with applications submitted prior to 4 July 2016 will abide by their contract which states donations towards their child’s service dog are tax deductible.  Language on the Make A Dream Come True pages will not change for pre-July 4 applicants and language will gradually shift to a fully fee for service language as older applicants complete their fundraising and only post-July 4 applicants remain.

At this time we are also implementing a change to the way fees for future service dogs are calculated.  If a family has received their dog prior to January 1, 2017 they will fund raise half the current fee for service at the time that they seek their second service dog.  Families who receive their service dogs January 1, 2017 and after will receive a 1/3 discount when the family pays the fee for service/begins fundraising for a second service dog.  Families who have questions about what a second service dog from 4 Paws will cost them can contact 4 Paws directly to discuss.

Ultimately, we do not agree with their decision and we believe that other organizations are able to operate in ways such that donations are made directly to support a specific person and remain tax deductible.  However, if we were to appeal the decision and we lose that appeal, the IRS will revoke our 501(c)3 status making all donations not tax deductible and perhaps damaging our credibility with the un-researched donor.  In the overall best interest of our clients, donors, volunteers, and friends we will proceed with their determination.

Fee for Service

as published in the Wall Street Journal

We are confident that our families will continue to fundraise in their communities with limited to no impact on duration or success.  We will maintain our fundraising support system for them and work with them as we progress through this transition together.  The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has been studying what motivates donors and philanthropists for years.  Topping their list year after year are reasons such as “belief gift can make a difference” and “personal satisfaction”.  However, giving to receive a tax benefit is consistently at the bottom of the list, coming in 11th with just 34% of donors in both 20131 and 20152.  While donors get their feathers ruffled when Congress tries to reduce or eliminate charitable donation tax law, overall most donors “insist that they’d still give the same amount even if they received no income-tax deduction for charitable giving,”.   4 Paws’ experience is consistent with these findings based on how many donors request tax deductible donation receipts at the end of each year.  It appears that just a small portion of our donor base itemizes their taxes and makes use of the charitable deduction option each year.

All other donations to 4 Paws remain tax deductible, including donations supporting children and veterans (unnamed donations), our building fund, naming opportunities, administrative expenses, veterinary care, dog supplies, and undesignated donations.  If you have any questions about if your donation will be tax deductible, please contact us directly at


1.  Lourosa-Ricardo, C. (2014, December 14). How America Gives to Charity. Retrieved July 01, 2016, from

2.  Blackman, A. (2015, December 12). The Surprising Relationship Between Taxes and Charitable Giving. Retrieved July 01, 2016, from


2014 Donors

By | Fundraising

Thank you so much to all of our donors!  The following donors made donations of more than $5000 in 2014!


  • Estate of Frieda Pauline Hoppe – $75,098.34
  • The Calipari Foundation Inc – $50,000
  • Jay Strayer – $50,000

$49,999 – $25,000

  • Estate of Joann Henninger – $34,934.04
  • Pandora Jewelry, LLC – $25,000
  • CareSource – $26,000
  • Monkee See – Monkee Do – $26,000
  • Jean Barger Rice Trust – $25,000
  • Eisai, Inc. – $39,000

$24,999 – $15,000

  • Survivors Trust, Anonymous – $20,000
  • Magistro Family Foundation – $15,000
  • The Erma A. Bantz Foundation – $15,000
  • PetsMart – $15,000
  • Ultimate Gym Sports LLC – $15,000
  • Alex Cristall – $16,830

$14,999 – $10,000

  • Darlene Jordan – $14,000
  • Anonymous – $14,000
  • Jim & Mary Reeves – $14,000
  • Oak Grove Ruritan Club – $11,082.49
  • James Cartwright – $12,603.20
  • Taylor & Lindy Coleman – $14,000
  • Crowdtilt c/o Balanced, Inc – $10,587.54
  • Anonymous – $11,477.22
  • Ditech, Inc – $14,000
  • Robert Beard Charitable Foundation – $10,000
  • Helen W. Bell Charitable Foundation – $10,000
  • Anonymous – $10,000
  • E. Kenneth & Esther Marie Hatton Foundation – $10,000
  • Fun Publications, Inc – $10,000
  • Ron & Julie Hovanec – $10,000
  • Cyrus and Joanne Spurlino – $10,000
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska – $13,000
  • Anonymous Foundation – $10,000
  • Arthur and Jenny Moss – $13,000
  • Jamie & Nicholas Mahramas – $13,000
  • Doherty Wow A Friend Foundation – $12,000
  • Balanced Inc – $13,104
  • Lydia Green – $14,000
  • Elaine Schwartz – $13,000
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation – $13,000
  • Joanne Halmess – $14,000
  • Anonymous – $10,000

$9,999 – $5,001

  • Joel Bassam – $6,950
  • The Bank of America Charitable Foundation – $5,325
  • Elsie Mommse – $6,000
  • Charles & Lisa Taylor – $9,300
  • Anonymous – $10,000
  • Todd & Amy Book – $9,105
  • Sylvia Gardner – $9,709.70
  • Eventbrite – $6,428
  • Friendship Athletic Boosters – $9,168.75
  • Sephora USA – $5,751.43
  • Emergency Children’s Help Org – $7,000
  • Carl V Bini Memorial Fund c/o ECHO – $7,000
  • Charles Pena – $6,700
  • Horicon Lodge #244 – $8,137
  • Matthew & Suzanne Sweeny – $5,340
  • Island Sun Tanning, Inc – $7,068


  • Ohio Renaissance Festival, Inc. – $5,000
  • Don E McOsker – $5,000
  • Bonnie R Spaulding – $5,000
  • Clare Schibi Memorial Foundation – $5,000
  • Cory & Katherine Welbaum – $5,000
  • Jean Price – $5,000
  • WHH Foundation – $5,000
  • Schwab Charitable Fund – $5,000
  • Walker Family Foundation – $5,000
  • Marie T Fike – $5,000
  • Susan Neu – $5,000
  • Barbara Bladecki – $5,000
  • Anonymous – $5,000
  • Diane Moutvic – $5,000

2011 Donors

By | Fundraising, Miscellaneous

Thank you so much to all of our donors!  The following donors made donations of more than $5000 in 2011!


  • Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation – $10,000
  • Joe Busam Foundation – $5,000
  • P&G Fund – $10,000
  • Virginia Conlogue Foundation – $10,000
  • Jean Barger Rice Trust – $29,000
  • The Erma A. Bantz Foundation Scholarship – $15,000
  • Anonymous – $22,000
  • Anonymous – $5,000
  • The Reinberger Foundation – $5,000
  • Tony Stewart Foundation – $7,500
  • Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation – $5,000
  • Robert F. Beard Foundation – $100,000
  • Hatton Foundation – $100,000
  • Joanne and Cyrus Spurlino – $5,000
  • Harold C. Schott Foundation – $22,000
  • Petfinder Foundation and Intervet/Shering-Plough Animal Health have granted us 295 doses Influenza Vaccine valued at $5310.
  • P&G’s Eukanuba Division donates 44,800 pounds of Eukanuba to 4 Paws for Ability! Did you know that we typically spend about $8,000 a month on dog food? With this donation by P&Gof 44,800 pounds of dog food, we should be spending only about $1,000 for dogs on special foods for a while. So it cut our spending by $7,000 a month and Eukanuba is $1 a pound so this is the equivalent of a $44,000 donation.
Using therapy equipment donated by the Meyerson Foundation to help our dogs adjust to standing on various types of flooring and viewing large, bright structures which appear out of nowhere.

Using therapy equipment donated by the Meyerson Foundation to help our dogs adjust to standing on various types of flooring and viewing large, bright structures which appear out of nowhere.


2012 Donors

By | Fundraising

Thank you so much to all of our donors!  The following donors made donations of more than $5000 in 2012!


  • Cynthia D. Lee Enterprises, Inc. DBA – $13,000
  • Autism Care & Treatment Today – $5,000
  • Beverly Cooney – $5,000
  • Community Foundation of Abilene – $10,000
  • Chardith Foundation – $25,000
  • Make a Wish Foundation – $9,078.49 / $13,000
  • Horncrest Foundation, Inc. – $22,000
  • Cheryl Vowels – $6,500
  • SKL Logan Family Foundation – $11,000
  • Sunrise Diagnostics Group – $8,000
  • Lions Sight Conversation Foundation of Blair County Inc. – $8,800
  • Wilson Jones Community Foundation – $7,500
  • Robert H. Hunt – $13,000
  • The Lions of Elburn Charities, Inc. – $13,000
  • Girl Scouts of Alaska Troop #11 – $5,500
  • Barbara Van Walnbeke – $13,000
  • Pfizer Foundation Matching Gifts Program – $6,500
  • Newberg Rotary Foundation – $7,500
  • Sally Fenley – $5,000
  • First Baptist Church of Lakeland – $7,442.50
  • Anonymous Donor – $6,000 / $10,000
  • Matanuska Electric Association – $10,000
  • Helen V. Brach Foundation – $10,000
  • Virginia Kettering Foundation – $7,500
  • Virginia Conlogue Foundation – $10,000



Thank you Cheap Hotels!

By | Charity, Fundraising

We were recently contacted by members of the Cheap Hotels staff regarding their charity program.   Each month Cheap Hotels selects an organization that will receive 1% of booking fees and we are grateful that they selected us!  They made a $500 donation, which will benefit our building fund.

We always advocate that we continue support for our supporters, so the next time you’re in need of a hotel, consider booking at

Thanks for your support Cheap Hotels!

With 25 years of changes, comes 25 more years of hope.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

25 Karen & Piper25. With 25 years of changes, comes 25 more years of hope.

Seventeen years ago, Karen and her then service dog Ben, put their dreams of assisting children with disabilities into action. They founded 4 Paws for Ability and began placing service dogs with kiddos.

To do this they had to do a lot of legal research, including developing an intense understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Nothing in the law stated that three person teams were prohibited…this allowed Karen and Ben to assist clients who were often told, “you’re too disabled to help”. The hope 4 Paws clients feel from this uninhibited “YES” answer, is often more than they can describe. On the other end of the spectrum, 4 Paws has been able to assist children who are told, “you aren’t disabled enough”. No disability is weighed as more or less needing of help. They are all equal under the ADA and equal to 4 Paws.

Karen and her now service dog, Piper have grown the program immensely. They have expanded the offerings for children, increased placements to 100+ per year, and added a program for veterans of recent conflicts. With accommodations provided by the ADA, there is no limit to the hope 4 Paws continues to offer.

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I have found a support system.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

24 Bain &24. I have found a support system.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a very large collection of laws to benefit what is often considered a single community, ‘Americans with disabilities’. Yet, this community is large and varied in their medical conditions and needs. Sometimes, the law of averages doesn’t work – what is needed to assist one person doesn’t help the next. And sometimes, it works in a very unique and interesting way. 4 Paws has found that while their community of clients is varied and diverse, they find a support system like none other they have ever encountered.

Bain & Sunder were matched in December 2014. For 12 days of training, they ‘fit in’. They were loved and accepted. They were ‘normal’ (what does normal mean, anyways…). Kiddos with disabilities and their families often feel left out or out of place in their everyday lives – but not at 4 Paws. At 4 Paws, Bain and Sunder were surrounded by people that ‘get it’. There they met Hunter and his new partner Angel, and the fabulous foursome became fast friends. Claira Beth received her service dog, Soliel, earlier, but they live near Bain and Sunder. While the support system has always extended outside the walls of 4 Paws, this picture of the 6 of them together (and one awesome big sister) says everything about finding friendship that words never could.

“Since the moment Bain first met Sunder, he has become more vocal and his attention span and focus ability has greatly increased. 4 Paws service dogs are magical in the services that they provide but also in ways that you would never expect. We love our 4 Paws extended family and the support that they offer! I have never been involved with any other groups that are as supportive and loving and accepting as 4 Paws for Ability and the 4 Paws family! Thank you will never be enough, but I will say it anyway! Thank you!”

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I have a new member of my medical team.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

23 Oreo & Tess23. I have a new member of my medical team.

Service dogs are task-trained to mitigate the impacts of disability. This looks different for each service dog team. A mobility dog might pick up dropped items, an autism assistance dog might disrupt behaviors, and a seizure alert dog might indicate an oncoming seizure and get help when it is happening. Each of these dogs is medically prescribed and part of a package of resources used to help their partner safely navigate the world.

Although Oreo was trained primarily as a seizure alert dog, her family has found that alerts to so much more. She lets her mom know when Tess is going to have a seizure, an ear infection, an upper-respiratory infection and, based on Oreo’s behavior around Tess, her family has learned to trust her to indicate how serious an illness is because Oreo knows, even before they do, that Tess is in trouble. Thanks to the ADA, Oreo is allowed to accompany Tess to all of her medical appointments and hospital stays which means, not only does her family and her doctors get to have another team member to ‘consult’ with, it means Tess gets her best buddy with her during some of the scariest times in her life.

“When we got Oreo we had no idea that she would become such a vital member of Tess’s medical team. And I mean that in a very literal sense. Oreo is so attuned to Tess that her doctors, from Maine to Boston will ask me when I call with concerns, ‘…and what is Oreo telling you?’. They also take their cues from Oreo during office visits or hospital visits. If Oreo gets up and places herself physically between them and Tess, unless it is vital that they keep helping Tess, they will back off for a bit because Oreo is letting me know that ‘Tess has had enough for the moment’.”

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I am accepted for who I am.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Autism Assistance, Fundraising, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

22 Dalton & Jasper22. I am accepted for who I am.

For 25 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has served as more than just a law. The requirements set forth within led to inclusion, which is often a step closer to acceptance. Acceptance allows a person to exist just as they are, with no worry for the way people see their medical conditions.

Dalton is a lucky kiddo, and while there are a lot of reasons, the best of which is that he has a loving community that accepts him. At school, church, and camp he is free to just be. This is good for Dalton, and good for his family. Harsh looks and stares seem unavoidable with the unprepared public, but are nowhere to be seen in his community. There is love, and hugs, and great care. This has only increased since Jasper has been by his side. Jasper is the elite partner and friend. He doesn’t know how to judge and his love is unconditional. Together they are strong and fearless, and thankfully, welcomed by their loved ones.

“So many things have changed since Jasper came into our lives. The biggest change is that Dalton is finally willing to go out in public again. He used to shake in fear, but he is now asking us to take him out. Dalton asks for Jasper and knows that they are best friends”.

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, #ADA25 #4PawsForADA