paws4people, along with its subsidiaries paws4vets, paws4prisons and paws4firstresponders is a leading organization in service dog training for those who need help to deal with physical and psychological disabilities, especially the 600,000 vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and MST disorders in the next five years.
Serving the nation from locations in nine mid-eastern states paws4people, in its variety of forms, delivers a unique combination of amazingly positive benefits to all those it serves. Utilizing dogs bred for service, as well as rescues & donated dogs that qualify, paws4 organizations provide companion and service dogs for disabled youth under 14 years of age and disabled veterans.
Dogs are started on the path to service being raised, and trained to over 100 commands, in five state and federal correctional facilities by inmates who qualify for the in-demand program. The dogs may be transferred in their training to two or more of these facilities. Inmates accepted into this unique program are held to the highest standards of behavior before, and once in the programs, and their dogs demonstrate the levels of qualification, commitment to contribute and the highest levels of training. The success of both the dogs and the prisoners is exceptional. The recidivism rate for prisoners is near zero while the dogs are over 80 percent! This training period can be six to 18 months.
Next the dogs are "bumped" at the prisons with potential highly qualified disabled recipients, and only when a dog chooses a recipient (in a "bump") does a transfer process begin. (A "bump" is the instant and complete demonstration of devotion to a potential recipient that is undeniable when witnessed.) Usually, the potential recipient returns time and again before the dog is permitted to leave with them, and then, only for short periods until a permanent transfer is made.
After the transfer is made and the team (dog and disabled person) is formed, the recipient and dog continue to train at outside private facilities for however long it takes to certify the dog and its partner as a companion or service dog (team). This certification, if at the service level, must be renewed yearly and ability for public-access demonstrated each year.
One potential private facility that the process of training and public-access certification may be completed at is the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Dog Assistance Training Program, a vital part of the paws4 network of organizations. This unique college program is the only one of its kind in the United States. In this 2-4 semester program, students receive 12 credits for learning service dog training "soup to nuts" and finish the training process for one of these dogs and with its recipient, and/or living 24/7 with a "service dog in training "and giving it public-access experience and then transferring it to a qualified disabled recipient. Those who complete the full 4 semesters not only receive a service dog trainer certificate from paws4 but receive their own service dog to employ in in-demand careers of special education, physical therapy, psychology, social work and other integrative professions.
Another private facility is both an opportunity for the dog to complete their certifications and a chance for former inmate-trainers to build their own businesses in partnership with paws4people and "The Dog Wizard", a paws4 for-profit "partner organization." Here the training process once again can be completed for the dog and its qualified disabled recipient, but uniquely also present a former inmate a chance to build their own self-employed future and to contribute back to the paws4 organizations through shared ownership of a business that completes the total paws4 loop.
All in all, paws4people, paws4prisons, paws4vets, paws4firstresponders, and other paws4 brands contribute standards to solve three of our nation's highest needs: companion and service dogs for 600,000 PTSD and MST veterans returning to the USA from Iraq & Afghanistan in the next five years, a low-cost supply of service dogs for disabled youth and a low-cost way out of the endless "inmate/release/inmate circle" which keeps our prisons full and the cost to us all endless.
We at American Dog Rescue are grateful to 12-year-old, Kyria Henry, and her disabled Vietnam veteran dad, Terry Henry, for starting Paws4People twelve years ago, sticking to it through "thick and thin," and thus-far training, and delivering, over 200 service dogs to qualified and needy recipients, changing their lives and their families' lives forever, and in the process building the standards all such organizations can follow to solve three of our nation's greatest problems. Please join us in supporting all these projects and organizations through American Dog Rescue's support for paws4people by clicking here.