Friday, September 28, 2012

Mission Pawsible

4 Paws for Ability Papillion
I was talking to a woman on the phone. "Excuse the noise," she said. "I'm transporting a carload of papillions." In the background I heard little yaps and barks.

"No problem." I continued conducting the interview. I was speaking with Karen Shirk, director of 4 Paws for Ability, for an article I was writing for Guideposts magazine's website.

4 Paws for Ability provides service dogs for children with disabilities. Karen started the organization because she realized that many kids were turned down for service dogs. When she was a teen, suffering from a rare neurological disease, she had applied for a service dog and was turned down over and over again. They told her that she was too disabled to qualify. So she understands what it's like to struggle to get necessary help.

Karen explained that 4 Paws for Ability helps kids with autism, Down’s syndrome, diabetes, seizures, cancer, hearing impairment, loss of mobility, mental health impairments, and many other conditions.

Some golden retriever puppies at 4 Paws for Ability.
Over the phone, I heard her pull up to a fast food drive thru and order some food. I thought, this is a very busy woman, devoting all she has to help others, and animals. I felt honored that she took time out of her schedule to talk to me. I was inspired learning about 4 Paws for Ability, how she is helping people with disabilities, working with the dogs, and also how she is involving prison inmates in helping train and socialize the dogs, thus helping inmates feel a sense of worth and contribution to society as well.

You can find the complete article on Guidepost's website: Mission Pawsible.


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