CLEVELAND – Generosity comes in all shapes, forms and sizes—even pint sizes.
The Vacation Bible School at North Royalton United Methodist Church in Cleveland, dedicates themselves to a summer project each year at VBS. This year, their project was 4 Paws for Ability, said Nikki Kaminski, Vacation Bible School director.
Organiscak visited w/her two children as well as a puppy in training—then she told them Pirate’s story. The children at VBS were intrigued by the little guy’s story. https://4pawsforability.org/pirate-the-one-eyed-puppy-to-help-others/
Pirate is unique to the typical impression associated with the words: ‘service dog.’ Like several hundred 4 Paws clients, he too is disabled, but that isn’t going to stop him from lending a paw to help others.
Pirate, a Papillon puppy, was born April 16 into a single-puppy litter.
A lone puppy, he was perfectly marked with brown and black on his head, amidst the pure, fluffy, white fur covering the rest of his tiny body. As like all puppies, Pirate was born with his eyes closed. Over the next seven days, one small, brown eye opened a little at a time, until finally, it slowly peeled open. He eagerly began looking, bright-eyed at his new world surrounding him. But he did so with one eye.
His left eye stayed closed—never opening.
“When a Facebook friend told me about a little Papillon born with only one eye, I immediately knew he belonged at 4 Paws,” said Karen Shirk, 4 Paws for Ability executive director.
“Pirate is a delightful, young Papillon, full of curiosity and quite confident in his approach to the world around him.”
After contemplating how to best utilize this amazing little canine, Pirate’s owner, Bonnie Kost, decided on reaching out to 4 Paws for Ability in hopes her imperfect puppy could help someone else. So that’s how Pirate, came to be part of the 196 service dogs currently in-training at 4 Paws—and eventually part of the more than 650 placed service dogs.
“Papillons are brilliant, so I expect him to excel in his training and they will evaluate him to find the best fit for him in his life of service,” said Kost. “He will have a job, a very important job. And most important, he is going to be very valuable to his person—not in terms of dollars, but in terms of making his person’s life easier and safer.”
But before he could begin saving lives, he had to undergo surgery. He had his congenital ophthalmic defect repaired—the vet removed his tiny, blind eye and the tissue surrounding it; then sewed it closed, preventing infection.
North Royalton United Methodist Church had 45 children and eight teenage crew leaders open their hearts and piggy banks for a week to help raise money for Pirate’s surgery and for a child in need of a service dog. Over the next week, they formed teams to see who could raise the most money each day.
Ultimately, they fundraised $578 in one week—but then challenged the church congregation to match it. With church donations and a bake sale, they raised another $100.
During the week of raising money, those children in Vacation Bible School learned about the children who 4 Paws helps including Evan Moss, whom they cheered on when he received his seizure-alert dog, Mindy.
And after meeting Pirate, the children are so excited to watch him grow and progress into a service dog for one future lucky child with disabilities.
“Thank you for providing such an amazing program for so many families. We are so proud to have learned about and to be able to help 4 Paws for Ability,” said Kaminski in a letter to 4 Paws with the church’s donation of $678.