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, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #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, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I am my own legal advocate.

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

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

19 Addie & Data19.  I am my own legal advocate.

When Congress prepared and finalized the ADA, they had no intent to diminish or invalidate any rights granted by other federal, state, or local laws and specifically wrote this into the regulation.  This means state laws can offer greater access than the federal law or work to make federal law explicitly clear within the setting of state legal proceedings.

This encourages all people to become their own legal advocates, working towards the best possible set of local, state, and federal laws for public access.  In New Jersey, Addie & Data, along with their super supportive mom and sister, worked swift and quick to make sure the pair were welcomed and loved in their school.  While doing this they found that NJ has specific laws allowing service dogs in school buildings and on school grounds, but nothing that clearly stated service dogs must also be permitted on school buses.  Working together with their Assemblyman, the Gill family watched Governor Chris Christie sign “Addie’s Law” this spring, making clear the requirement for accepting service dogs on school buses and reiterating other aspects of the ADA.

“We are so proud of Addie’s Law.  We hope to continue being legal advocates, especially where handlers for service dogs in schools are concerned.  Because Addie’s Law was a success, children in NJ who were having issues with school transportation won’t anymore”.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I can join my friends to PLAY!

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

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

18 Aiden & Kelcy18.  I can join my friends to PLAY!

The ADA provides individuals with disabilities access to programming and removal of physical barriers to facilities.  This means all kiddos get to participate with their peers, both in integrated and specialized activities! 

Aidan and Kelcy just look like a playful pair.  Aidan is an active kiddo, and participates in both dance and tennis.  They have also enjoyed the summer sun at a local accessible playground.  For quiet time, Aidan and Kelcy frequent their local library.  All things ones might expect of a kid, and because of the ADA, Aidan gets to experience them with Kelcy, and without barriers.

“Our lives have been forever changed by 4 Paws for Ability, With Kelcy by Aidan’s side, we know that he won’t wander away from her, but if he does we have the peace of mind that she will find him quickly.  This allows us to let Aidan play without the stress of losing him in a crowd.  Kelcy keeps him safe and he can just be a kid, enjoying the activities he loves.”

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I live in a world that I can trust.

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

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

17 Anna & Cadi17. I live in a world that I can trust.

This is Anna and her service dog Cadi.  Cadi helped Anna in a lot of ways; with walking, with picking up dropped objects, and importantly with trusting the world around her.  When Anna was unsure of stairs, Cadi patiently waited, while Anna determined how high each step was.  The ADA allowed Cadi to accompany Anna everywhere, even to school and on hospital visits, increasing her comfort and trust.  Anna could accomplish anything with Cadi by her side!  Her trust in Cadi helped her on her best days, like family vacation to an accessible Candyland themed playground; and on her not so great days, where her medical conditions were difficult to overcome.  Together, Anna and Cadi were the best pair.

Anna passed away in 2012, with her family by her side.  With Cadi, Anna trusted.  Thanks to her service dog and the protection of the ADA law, she could trust everywhere she went.  Her family and friends through Angels for Anna continue to trust the world – to trust that people are good, and have the capacity to do something nice, for someone else, every day.  Today, for Anna and Cadi, do something nice.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

My family can experience things we have never experienced before.

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

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

14 Ben & Dubs14.  My family can experience things we have never experienced before.

This is Ben and his service dog Dubs (007). Dubs, as permitted by the ADA law, accompanies Ben everywhere, from school to hospital stays.  Dubs’ assistance allows Ben to be more independent and be a part of his community. Importantly, Dubs has helped his entire family participate in activities and events they never imagined possible. Family functions are safer with a service dog dog by their side.  Holidays and birthdays have been celebrated, and Dubs is a constant companion throughout.  In each of these new, unexpected moments, Ben and his imagination thrives.

“Each day, we marvel at how much Ben continues to grow with Dubs by his side.  The ADA has helped us educate many and has made the world wide open for Ben.”

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

The ADA protects my privacy.

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

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

07 Brandon & Sophia7.  The ADA protects my privacy.

People who need the Americans with Disabilities Act to have fair and equal access to public accommodations could face a variety of medical conditions and diagnoses. The ADA protects them from having to share that information with anyone but their doctor. Even invisible disabilities need not be discussed with the general public when seeking fair access to a location or business.

Brandon and his service dog Sophia don’t have to share any personal information for fair access. Since Brandon’s disabilities are not visually obvious, the ADA protects him and his family from having to share his background or medical history with everyone that asks. They even go to school together with the access laws provided by the ADA.

“The ADA protects my privacy and allows me and my best girl access to most any place my family wants to go. With the ADA I can navigate the world with my girl and avoid a lot of embarrassment, interruptions, and questions. Without the ADA and the access it ensures me, I would miss out on a lot of the world around me”.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

My medical equipment goes everywhere.

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

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

Bekah & Grizz6.  My medical equipment goes everywhere.

Griz might not look like what you expect, which is a good reminder that any dog, with the right temperament and task training can be a service dog – don’t judge a book (a service dog or their person) by the cover.  Yet, he and his girl Bekah have a pretty neat story.  Griz came from a high-kill shelter and Bekah was adopted from an orphanage – mom thanks 4 Paws, the training staff, and divine intervention for writing their story as one.  Griz was trained to help Bekah manage her high anxiety in places where she is afraid – which for her is every place there are people. Thanks to the ADA Griz can work his magic wherever we travel.

As a result, Griz has increased Bekah’s independence and confidence.  Her family has spent years visiting places and doing things that they never thought possible – because her medically assistive service dog goes everywhere with her.  Griz can interrupt a flashback or intervene when her anxiety is high, giving Bekah security and a foundation of safety, even in a chaotic world.

“His loyalty has taught Bekah that she can trust and be safe. Something she never understood before Griz became her dog”!

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

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