Dogs have a tremendous effect on people. They can soothe anxiety, detect seizures and even save lives. That’s why Dan Ott, District Leader of PetSmart in Cincinnati, is so proud to support 4 Paws for Ability, a beloved local animal charitie and recipient of a PetSmart Charities grant.
“We were looking to do something for people struggling to get through life,” he says. “Animals can empower them and give them more independence.”
4 Paws for Ability serves children and veterans with disabilities. The organization trains dogs to help people who have conditions such as autism, epilepsy, diabetes and even cancer.
“The look of joy on people’s faces when they get their dogs is incredible,” Ott says.
Providing Service Dogs to Those in Need
Kelly Camm, Development Director with 4 Paws for Ability, says the organization works with people all over the world.
“This year, we’ll place 124 dogs with families,” she says. “That’s 20 more than last year, and we hope to continue to grow.”
However, the cost to raise and train a service animal is quite high. According to the organization, it costs between $40,000 and $60,000 to fully train a service animal. Many families fundraise in their communities so they can get their dogs.
The organization will use the PetSmart Charities grant to help one family get a service dog for their daughter.
Addison is a young girl with a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC causes tumors to grow on organs like the brain or kidneys. Some people with TSC, like Addison, experience seizures, behavior issues and learning challenges.
According to Addison’s parents, dogs calm her when she is upset or angry. They applied for a service dog to help soothe and prevent behavior disruptions as well as provide seizure alerts.
The grant from PetSamrt Charities will help make that dream come true. Addison’s dog will be ready for her in 2020.
“I’ve seen families become so desperate,” Camm says, “and I’ve seen dogs work miracles. We couldn’t do that without donors like PetSmart Charities.”