Making a Difference with Dogs

Paws With a Cause is a looking for volunteers to help train dogs to make a difference.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: December 5, 2014, 12:40 p.m. PST

After her son passed away, a neighbor of mine enrolled her dog in a program to train her to help those in need. The program complete, the dog’s primary focus is helping senior citizens. If nothing else, the neighbor said, the experience brightens the day of everyone involved.

Paws With a Cause is looking for volunteers like her who are interested in training dogs to become future assistance dogs, according to If you’ve ever seen a dog with a Paws With a Cause vest on, you’ve seen an assistance dog or a dog in training.

Assistance dogs help a number of people, from those with physical disabilities to those suffering from seizures to blind, deaf and hearing impaired people and even children with autism and other special needs. The more dogs who are trained, the more adults and children can be helped.

Volunteers engage in training the dogs when they are just 8 weeks old. The training is done in the volunteers’ homes, and everyone is encouraged to have the puppy with them at all times – at stores, at the bank, at church or wherever else the volunteer may go. Experience is not necessary to become a volunteer as training is provided.

People from different parts of the United States volunteer to train future assistance dogs. Part of the training includes a week-long trip to West Michigan, where volunteers and their dogs focus on various aspects of assistance dog training, including visiting a local store. Watch the video below to see how one such training session went.

If you are in the Wayland, Mich. area, you can attend a free Future Assistance Dog Orientation this Monday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. The orientation will take place at the Paws With a Cause headquarters.

If you’d like more information on how to become a volunteer, visit the Paws With a Cause website or call them at (800) 253-7297.

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