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About Us

Where we came from

From founding in a one bedroom apartment in Batavia, OH with a single person to a purpose-built service dog training and placement campus in Xenia, OH, employing more than 75 people and hundreds of volunteers, 4 Paws for Ability has always worked to help people with disabilities acquire task-trained service dogs.

Karen Shirk, founder, struggled to obtain a service dog from other agencies and so in 1998 she founded 4 Paws for Ability to help others like her access the life-changing love, assistance, and support offered by a service dog. More than 1,500 service dog teams have graduated from 4 Paws because of this commitment.

And we’re still growing.

What we do

4 Paws for Ability enriches the lives of people with disabilities by placing life changing service dogs.

We breed, raise, and train our service dogs in preparation to assist their partner with specific tasks and skills that mitigate the impacts of their partner’s disabilities.

We work hard, love harder, and play the hardest.

What it takes

Professional Staff

4 Paws for Ability employs more than 75 full time staff members as part of our journey to raise, train, and place more than 100 service dogs each year. Staff specialties include professional dog trainers, veterinary, dog care, and a multitude of specialties focused on supporting hundreds of volunteers in the socialization and training of dogs in the program.

Dedicated Volunteers

4 Paws for Ability benefits from the daily support of hundreds of volunteers, who are essential to the success of 4 Paws. Volunteers lend a hand with everything from administrative support to housing a service dog in training. 4 Paws is always looking for new community members to join our volunteer team.

Generous Donors

It costs 4 Paws between $40,000-$60,000 to raise, train, and place a single service dog. Monetary donations are needed to cover all of the associated expenses, such as food, veterinary care, equipment, supplies, and professional training.

It takes a village.