The Dirt Farmer Foundation’s CAUSE it’s OCTOBER: 4 Paws For Ability

The Dirt Farmer Foundation is our way of focusing the social media power of the Dirt Farmer’s community to help worthwhile charities.

Our CAUSE it’s OCTOBER or Cause of the Month is:


“Providing Service Dogs to Children Worldwide”

4 Paws for Ability is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to place quality service dogs with children with disabilities and veterans who have lost use of limbs or hearing; help with animal rescue, and educate the public regarding use of service dogs in public places. Learn more HERE

4 Paws was founded in 1998 by Karen Shirk after she tried unsuccessfully for years to obtain a service dog from traditional service dog agencies. 

At the time, Karen often used a ventilator to breathe and the agencies she applied to found her too disabled to receive a service dog. After obtaining her own dog and finding the training herself, Karen dreamed of a place where applicants for service dogs were not judged based on severity of disability and set out to start her own organization. Her dream became the large, thriving, respected nonprofit organization 4 Paws for Ability is today! You can read the complete story on the page The 4 Paws Story

4 Paws for Ability, Inc. MISSION is to Enrich the lives of children with disabilities by the training and placement of quality, task trained service dogs to provide increased independence for the children and assistance to their families.

4 Paws For Ability also looks forward to enrich the lives of veterans from recent conflicts who have lost the use of their limbs or their hearing while in active combat. Educate the public to accept the use of service dogs in public places and assist with animal rescue when possible. Learn more HERE.

4 Paws for Ability specializes in placements with children. They have no eligibility requirements beyond a physician’s statement that the person requesting a service dog has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Often times children with disabilities contact agencies that place service dogs only to be told they are “too disabled” or “not disabled enough” and are turned down. Additionally, parents trying to find service dogs for their children quickly discover that many agencies will not place service dogs with children.

For these and other reasons, 4 Paws for Ability offers a variety of training for assistance dogs. 4 Paws trains dogs case specific and will work with the families to meet their child’s unique needs!

SERVICE DOGS WITH VETERANS. 4 Paws believes that if every reputable service dog organization placed a small portion of their dogs with veterans, our veteran population would be fully supported in our communities. 4 Paws has chosen to focus on serving veterans of recent combat whose primary disability is a mobility or hearing impairment as a result of a combat injury during one of the more recent wars and conflicts are eligible for the program. For more information, please review 4 Paws for Veterans  page.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE. There are 5 stages to the service dog placement process. The application can be found here  for children and here for veterans

The application is followed by an interview and official acceptance. This is followed by an official contract, payment of the fee/fundraising, class placement notification, followed by attendance at training in Xenia, OH.

4 Paws for Ability believes service dogs should be made available to any child with a disability who wishes to have the love, companionship, and independence that are the result of service dog placement.


Click HERE to check out ALL The Dirt Farmer Foundation Month Causes and Campaigns since 2012 and click HERE to check out our Dirt Farmer Foundation PET CARE Guide.

Click HERE to visit The Dirt Farmer Foundation

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