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4 Paws For Ability Inc Review - 4 Paws For Ability Really Cares for Special Needs Kids!!!
4 Paws For Ability Inc Review

4 Paws For Ability Inc Review

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4 Paws For Ability Really Cares for Special Needs Kids!!!


We got a service dog from 4 Paws two years ago and absolutely LOVE her! She has been a great addition to my family, and such a helper to my 6-yr-old autistic son. He was always afraid to go out in public before we got the dog, and would cry and have meltdowns constantly in new situations.

I heard about service dogs for autistic kids when my son was 4. I searched and searched and couldn't find a reputable organization that would give a service dog to such a young child, but then I found 4 Paws and am so thankful I did!

Yes, the whole process to apply, fundraise and wait for your class can be stressful, especially when you just want to help your child NOW.

Yes, the training was long and emotionally draining, because you're learning a LOT from expert trainers every day and they expect you to work hard and absorb tons of knowledge. And yes, it was hard to be at a hotel and away from the family for 2 weeks.

Yes, it was kind of like bringing a new baby home, with a period of adjustment where there were a few potty accidents and minor behavior issues, but after a few days, we got into our groove.

Would I do it all over again? YES!

Our dog was trained to put up with all the extreme behaviors of autism. She was trained specifically for my son's issues thanks to video that we sent before we went to meet her. She was trained on tethering, which means my son wears a belt that attaches to her harness, so when we go out, he knows that where the dog goes, he goes, which makes him calmer since he knows what to expect. Also, he can't pull away from us and go running, like he used to do. He is doing much better with transitions at school, and the dog is a blessing for the other boys in the autism classroom, who often pet and play with the dog as a sort of therapy.

The whole experience with 4 Paws has been very positive for us. We had a few adjustment issues after we came home, but the trainers (Jeremy is awesome!) are more than willing to walk you through it over the phone and offer great suggestions. Karen, the director, has a true passion for dogs, especially in regards to helping special needs kids. She was more than willing to go to bat for me when I was having problems with the school district admitting my dog to public school (successfully resolved!). This is Karen's life, and you can tell it means a lot to her to see another successful graduating class taking their dogs home.

Although it's not the fanciest facility on earth, they certainly do the very best they can with limited space and resources.

With all that being said, we did have one pair in our class that didn't have a successful match, and had to swap dogs partway through training, and once more after they had the dog home. But they do tell you that the dogs aren't robots, and that sometimes the matches don't work. Still, their overall success rate is very high, and it's amazing how great most of the matches were. Considering that all they have to go on is a few hours of video of your child's behavior, they really nailed 11 of 12 matches in my particular class.

And to address a comment about the dogs being too young: my dog turned 1 the week after we brought her home, but she only acts like a puppy when she's home playing in the back yard. She is extremely disciplined the minute that working harness goes on and is all business. We take her everywhere we go, and we constantly get comments about how well-behaved and friendly she is, and how sweet and gentle she is even when she's getting her feet stepped on or her ears yanked. I'm not sure an older dog would put up with all the crazy behavior my dog sees on a daily basis, and she doesn't even bat an eye because she's been so well trained.

I can't imagine how hard it is to do what they do every day at 4 Paws. All I know is that I'm glad they do it, because my son's life, and my whole family's life, was changed for the better the day we brought our dog home from 4 Paws. Thanks for caring, guys!


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