Puppy Raisers Making a Difference: Heather and Nasreen

By | Autism Assistance, Service Dog Stories, Traditional Puppy Raiser

As soon as we started puppy raising Nasreen, we could see just how sweet and attentive she was. She was unfazed when multiple kids would pet her, and crowds and loud noises didn’t bother her at all. She was very snuggly and loved to cuddle. One day we were in a crowded outdoor mall when an event was taking place. My daughter started having an anxiety from the noise and people so I got her away to a grassy area behind the mall. My daughter sat in the grass and Nasreen climbed in her lap unprompted and just sat there and let my daughter hug her. That was the point that I knew she would make an amazing autism assistance dog.

*Nasreen was placed as an autism assistance dog with her partner in October 2017.

Puppy Raisers Making a Difference: The Glindmeyer Family

By | Autism Assistance, Service Dog Stories, Traditional Puppy Raiser

From the moment 4 month-old Mulder romped into the room and presented both of us with the “doodle hug,” my husband and I knew we were in trouble. We told ourselves that we were going to do this puppy raising for someone else, that we would guard our hearts so that we would never have to experience the ache of saying goodbye to another dog. It was as if he knew we needed him to love for a little while, as much as Joe needed him after he was finished with the business of growing. And so, our journey began. It didn’t take us long to figure out that he was a special guy. As puppy raisers we took our job very seriously. We took him with us everywhere we went and we created as many experiences as possible that we could think of that a family might need him to be prepared. Along the way, as we introduced him to kids of all ages at schools, churches, libraries, festivals, playgrounds, museums – you name it – we wound up meeting a whole host of people with whom we would have never had a conversation.

We used the words “bullet-proof” to describe Mulder. He never met a noise, a sight or an experience that made him nervous. He was very curious about his shadow and chased his tail as if it were something that followed him, but truly these were his only challenges. Mulder’s other special talent seemed to be his ability to find things. His nose was never wrong. If we hid his ball somewhere to take a break, he immediately reminded us where it was located, even if it was in another room. Mulder wasn’t with us long before we began telling folks who asked us what kind of service dog he would be someday, “Well, that’s for the folks in Advanced Training to figure out, but we’re guessing he’d be great in a family with a child who is diagnosed with Autism.”

Without a doubt the most rewarding part of our experience as Puppy Raisers has been these months after Mulder met Joe and became his best friend. There were times while raising him when we thought there would be no way he would ever sleep on a bed, given his love for the tile floor or the air conditioner vents. His love for playing ball, greeting people and other dogs and sniffing every smell in the grocery store were all potential distractors that we wondered how on earth he would ever leave behind. But then, through the photos his new family posted, we’ve seen Mulder develop a love for someone much more special than any of his puppy favorites. Seeing photos of Mulder and his boy sleeping together, hanging out with Joe’s classmates at school together and most recently being a comfort to Joe in an overwhelming situation without even being asked to do so has simply made all those tears that were shed on the drive back home from give-back day worth it.

Puppy Raiser Showcase: The Brinkers

By | Traditional Puppy Raiser

My name is Heather Brinker. My family found out about 4 Paws for Ability in 2016 when my niece was getting a service dog. They told us about the need for puppy raisers, so we applied and took home our first foster on my niece’s graduation day! Shortly after that the doctor told us that our daughter’s pain condition was not going to go away and she recommended we get a service dog to help her. We applied and are waiting for her to get her multipurpose assistance dog to help with mobility, medical alert, and behavior disruption. We are currently fostering our sixth service dog in training and have learned so much about the whole process. We have such an appreciation for everyone involved with 4 Paws and can’t wait for our daughter to meet her own amazing dog! (Pictured is Nasreen who was placed with her girl in November)

Puppy Raiser Showcase: Kayla

By | 4 Paws University, Traditional Puppy Raiser

After my little brother received his seizure alert dog, Coffee, I knew I wanted to be a part of such magic. This program has helped me grow & become a better person, in such the short time we have them, each dog teaches you something different. These dogs do such amazing things for even more amazing families. I am so grateful for 4 Paws & all they do for my family & many others

Puppy Raiser Showcase: Stacey

By | Traditional Puppy Raiser

My name is Stacey Tatter and I’ve been a Traditional Foster since Jan 19th, 2017. I wouldn’t change that decision in a million years. My first foster was Rhapsody, a full golden and I had her through August that year when she went into Advanced Training. They say the best way to get over Give Back Day (the day you drop off your foster for advanced training) is to bring home a new puppy the same day. I whole heartedly agree with that theory and brought home Plumette (newfie/lab/golden). From August to October, I drove up to Xenia each weekend to be Rhapsody’s weekend foster. In October, Rhapsody was released from the program due to a propensity to bark in public…behavior not befitting a service dog so we adopted our Fabulous Flunkie as a permanent member of our family. At 10 months old, Plumette is still working hard everyday on her journey to becoming matched with a kiddo and will have her first evaluation soon.
The girls have gone everywhere with me, from running daily errands, to special events, hospital visits, and even to work with me in downtown Cincinnati, taking the bus, learning about traffic, and all sorts of noises and sounds. Watching these girls as they learn every day about the big world is a joy.

The thing I love most about being a puppy raiser is meeting the people who come up to talk to us. During daily outings, we have met: people who know nothing about the program and we get to share the mission, people who have started the process to receive a service dog for their child, people who have already have a 4 Paws service dog for their child, people who have adopted a Flunkie, people who know someone who also fosters, a chance meeting with one of the current Board Members on Fountain Square, and my favorite people, two released inmates who trained dogs during their time in prison. Each one of these people have been touched by 4 Paws in some way and have shown me from start to finish, prison raising to placed dogs, just how many lives this organization has changed for the better.

Puppy Raisers Making a Difference: Susanna and Yondu

By | Traditional Puppy Raiser

Service Dogs
by Susanna Mollet (age 13)

Service Dogs are special dogs that go through a difficult training program.  Yondu is one of these dogs.  he was born at 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia, OH and is a service dog in training.  He is learning how to behave in public and be around all kinds of people and animals and eventually could learn how to help a child with a disability.

Service dogs need to get used to going all sorts of different places.  They need to go to places that are crowded, noisy and have a lot of distractions they need to ignore.  Yondu had a hard time with this as a puppy, but has improved as he has gotten older.  It is hard to ignore other animals and toys.  Youndy would really like to play with stuffed toys but he isn’t allowed to have them.  He has to practice leaving them alone.

Service dogs have to learn to tolerate physical roughness from children.  They can’t react when someone pokes them, pulls their tails or ears, climbs on them or yells.  Not all dogs are able to do this.  Yondu is naturally able to tolerate this physical behavior and reacts in a kind and gentle manner.  He can’t bite or bark or he won’t be able to be a service dog.

Service dogs can do lots of things to help kids with disabilities.  If they have seizures the dog can alert before it happens.  For someone with diabetes the dog can alert if their blood sugar gets low.  They can provide behavior disruption and deep pressure for kids with Autism.  For kids with balance or coronation problems the dog can provide support  when they walk.  Service dogs can also track and find a child that may wander off.  Service dogs can also be a child’s best friend.

The service dog training program is difficult and only very special dogs even begin training.  Yondu is a smart dog and a hard worker.  He is cute, cuddly and snuggly. He will either become a service dog or a pet dog.

*Yondu became a service dog when he was match with his new partner in February 2018.

You could raise a puppy too!

By | Traditional Puppy Raiser, Volunteer

Please consider welcoming a service dog in training into your home by taking part in our Puppy Raiser Program as a Volunteer Trainer!

No experience is required, just loving people ready to commit to partnering with 4 Paws to raise a service dog in training. Please go to our website to learn the steps to take to get involved.

Puppy Raiser Opportunities

Traditional Puppy Raiser
Individual or family looking to foster a 4 Paws dog in their home

Weekend Puppy Raiser
Individual or family looking to foster a 4 Paws dog in Advanced Training in their home on weekends or evenings and weekends

University Puppy Raiser
Individual enrolled at a college looking to foster a 4 Paws dog on or off campus

Puppy Sitter
Individual or family looking to short-term assist with puppy raising during the day or overnight for primary puppy raisers

How much does it cost? 4 Paws provides a start up set up supplies (food, kennel, leash, collar, vest, etc) and then you are welcome to pick up additional supplies at the 4 Paws monthly Training Classes. We have a vet staff on site in Xenia, OH as well that you are welcome to use at no cost! Participants are responsible for transporting the dog to and from 4 Paws as necessary.

Is it a lot of work? Yes! But it is also very rewarding. The time and energy you spend teaching: basic obedience, house manners, potty training, foundational service dog skills and socialization truly equip the your 4 Paws dog to become a service dog!

Sign up here:  https://4pawsforability.org/puppy-raiser/

You made a difference

By | 4 Paws University, Autism Assistance, Fundraising, Service Dog Stories, Traditional Puppy Raiser

2011. Alaska mom one year later, writing on Facebook. If you in any way donated time, money, mushed dogs, bid in the auction, did a news story, donated items, fostered a dog, trained, or helped us in any way with obtaining our service dog Juke, please know:

You made a difference.

You saved a family from sleepless nights, worry, fear, and stress. You returned normalcy to a home. You allowed a husband & wife to enjoy being married again. You allowed a boy to have calm in his storm of affliction. You gave him a friend to sleep with & feel safe with. You gave many families hope.

We have had Juke for one year now. I cannot thank you all enough for what you have done. Juke is not a cure for autism, but an anchor in a storm. We are so blessed. You know who you are ~Thank you. Donna Erickson, Unalakleet, Alaska