4 Paws 4 Patriots
4 Paws 4 Patriots is a non-profit organization that provides service dogs and specialized training to veterans with disabilities absolutely free of charge. Fully funded by donations and a variety of fundraising events throughout the year, this organization makes the most out of every dollar by working with animal shelters, contract trainers and volunteers to achieve their goals.
4 Paws 4 Patriots understands that there is never a shortage of veterans in need, which is why they strive to match a veteran with a service dog in as little time as possible. Unlike other similar organizations, where the waiting period can span anywhere from several months to several years, 4 Paws 4 Patriots have service dogs available at all times. In many cases, a veteran with a disability is invited to attend their first class with a service dog almost as soon as they sign up for the program!
One major goal of the organization is to accommodate a wide range of veterans’ individual needs. Thus, service dogs are chosen and trained based on the pre-established guidelines of 4 distinct training programs:
Program 1 is designed for the care of veterans suffering from extreme physical ailments, such as a loss of limbs. This is the most intensive training option, as dogs are specially chosen or even bred for it and are task trained to assist their future parent in any and all environments that they may be exposed to.
Program 2 is designed for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hearing loss and mobility issues. Many dogs in this program are taken from shelters or former parents who need to re-home their dog, and then they are given a new, rewarding purpose in life.
Program 3 is a unique self-training option, designed to accommodate a wide range of needs. The veteran is matched with a service dog, who then undergoes daily training assigned by a 4 Paws trainer and performed by the dog’s new parent at home or in a public area.
Program 4 is performed on an ongoing basis for dogs from all 3 other programs. The goal is to ensure that each service dog’s training is up-to-date with his/her veteran’s changing needs that are only natural as a part of aging.
In addition, each dog – regardless of his/her distinct program – must complete many months of meticulous training in all manner of obedience and individualized disability task training, as well as pass a variety of public access, temperament and other tests. The cost of each dog’s overall training can reach or even exceed $20,000, yet the way the service dog can alter a war hero’s life is well worth the expense, labor and time it entails.
4 Paws 4 Patriots Events
To raise awareness and funds for their tremendous efforts, many generous organizations host events where 4 Paws 4 Patriots is a featured participant. These events encompass a myriad of industries and all walks of life, ensuring national recognition and support for this admirable organization.
Be sure to follow the 4 Paws 4 Patriots website for upcoming events!
4 Paws 4 Patriots History
4 Paws 4 Patriots was founded by Tim LeBlanc, a former U.S. Army Veteran who had once faced the struggle of adjusting to civilian life. Together with other veterans with disabilities and eventually volunteers, the organization has been providing miracles to veterans in need for over 35 years. For their impressive dedication to our shared ideologies of education, force-free training, ethics, and professionalism, we applaud 4 Paws 4 Patriots!
To learn more about 4 Paws 4 Patriots, please do not hesitate to visit their website or their Facebook page. If you or your loved one is a veteran in need, obtaining the perfect service dog has never been easier!
If you would like to contribute to 4 Paws’ unique work by making a donation, the Donate/Volunteer section on their website has all the information you need. If you would like to volunteer your time, your skills and/or a foster home for a future service dog, the online Volunteer Application will help you get started.