A few days ago while speaking with Reed on the phone I was telling him about my dog Max being a Therapy Dog. Later that day Reed saw a news story about a service dog that helps an autistic child. The dog was trained through a group called 4 Paws for Ability. Very ironic because 4 Paws for Ability is located in Xenia, Ohio where I’m currently living. Reed had no idea of this at the time.
I’ve lived in Xenia for almost a year and a half, drove past 4 Paws for Ability several times but never actually stopped to check it out. I decided I should head over to 4 Paws for Ability and donate $10 to a volunteer there. I gave the money to Charlene who in turn donated the money to 4 Paws for Ability.
Charlene showed me around the facility and introduced me to quite a few dogs. In total 4 Paws for Ability has 200 dogs but they are not all living at the facility. Some of the dogs live at a Correctional Facility where the inmates there train the dogs, other dogs are living with foster families. 75% of the dogs at 4 Paws for Ability are rescued from animal shelters, I thought this was just amazing. After working with the dogs if a dog just doesn’t seem like it will be a good service dog they place the dogs on PetFinder.com. All dogs placed on Pet Finder have went through extensive obedience training so you get a fully trained dog.
4 Paws for Ability has designed the inside of the facility to resemble a home. They have an area in the facility which is set up like the living room in your home. This area has toys, television with video games and a computer. The area is somewhat barricaded and was designed for children who are getting a service dog to be able to spend a day in a home like setting with just them and the dog as the parents view the interactions from outside the area.
Outside the building is a 2 acre area which is sectioned off into different yard type areas for the dogs to play. Outside I was greeted by Connor who is currently going through training. Connor was playing in the area which was made up to look like a typical backyard area with swings and play-sets. During the warmer months the children can spend time outside interacting with the dog.
If it weren’t for participating in the week of giving I may have never walked into 4 Paws for Ability. Thanks to this opportunity I may have just found an additional opportunity to volunteer.
4Paws for Ability has ongoing needs for donations.
-Melinda T. from Xenia, OH