CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A local nonprofit working with service dogs can use more volunteers. 4 Paws for Ability needs you to provide a home and lots of love and attention.
The volunteers say the hardest part might actually be when your work is done, and the dog goes to its forever home.
“A service dog goes to a child or a veteran through 4 Paws, and it gives them their life back,” explains Volunteer Trainer Rob Kunkel, “Things they couldn’t do before for whatever reason.”
Volunteer Trainer Allison McGarr is a student at the University of Cincinnati and has been volunteering for more than two years.
“This program is so rewarding because you get to see how these dogs change lives,” says McGarr.
4 Paws for Ability is a nonprofit organization responsible for training service dogs to help children with disabilities or veterans with limb loss or hearing impairment.
The organization needs volunteers like Kunkel and McGarr.
“It’s a lot of work,” says Kunkel, “But it’s very very rewarding working with the dogs as well as knowing we’re helping someone with a disability.”
Kunkel is a volunteer trainer providing a home for the animals for a year or less before they go to advanced training. The volunteers take care of the animals and help them socialize with other humans and animals in public settings.
“They really are just life-changing animals,” adds McGarr. “I couldn’t imagine life without him, and I can’t wait to see where he goes.”
McGarr says it’s always hard to say goodbye to the dogs when her work with them is done, but it’s worth it in the end.
“People always ask me how you give him up,” McGarr explains, “You’ve had this dog for a year, how do you give them up? And it’s for that reason. As much as he’s changed my life, he’s gonna be such a great help to someone else and that is the best feeling.”
If the service dogs don’t work out, for a variety of reasons, they will be up for adoption.
“It’s especially exciting when they become a service dog,” explains McGarr, “But, my last dog was a ‘fabulous flunkie’ as we call them, and she lives with her forever family now. And seeing pictures of them together just makes me know that she’s right where she’s supposed to be.”
4 Paws for Ability provides all of the vet care and food for the dogs if you do foster them in your home.
If you simply want to volunteer to help the dogs at the 4 paws facility, you can do that too. And of course, they can always use monetary donations.
The more volunteers and funding they have, the quicker they can place service animals with people in need.
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