Paws 4 Life was created in 2007, and is a 501(c)(3) organization, a nonprofit organization, and a 100% volunteer organization. In addition to our several fundraisers a year, we rely on donations to raise money to keep us going. At Paws 4 Life, we like to think of ourselves as a giant extended family.
We started with just 8 dogs, which then quickly became 23 dogs, and now the count continues to grow each and every day. As our organization expanded, we decided to move to the Apache Greyhound Park. There, we started out with simple orange cone circles, then upgraded to construction fencing, and in 2015 we were finally able to construct real wood fencing training rings. To date, we also have an agility arena.
To help our dogs reach their ultimate potential, we work hard to create a challenging environment for them to learn in. We are lucky enough to have support from Williams Gateway, who allow us to train for TSA checks, boarding and exiting planes, luggage, and exposure to people at airports. We also take our dogs to tour local schools to educate students about pet responsibility, and also to teach them the difference between a working service dog and somebody’s pet.
In partnership with different shelters and rescue groups, we have started up the animal food bank: Whiskers, Wags, and Whiny. The goal is to help people with hardships be able to keep their pets with assistance of food and some medical attention. We continue to grow, and hope that this continues on for quite some time.
To continue building a strong relationship with our community, we have created a student volunteer program and a scholarship program. We’ve also made it our mission to show that anyone can learn the skills needed to train and work with a service animal. In 2011, we had a group of hearing impaired volunteers come to the facilities, one of which continued on to become our first deaf trainer.