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“I can see the impact” | Gretchen’s Story

    “Once we moved to Xenia, I knew I needed to learn more about the organization and see if I could help.” 

    A year and a half later, Gretchen is thankful for finally stopping by our campus, after countless trips to her in-laws took her past our Xenia facility. “I can see the impact my time is providing,” she says. “Being able to watch the puppies develop and starting to see puppies become service dogs is amazing.”

    4 Paws volunteers meet many incredible, life-changing dogs, but everyone has that special dog they’ll never forget. For Gretchen and service dog Lou, “just thinking about it is emotional.”

    Gretchen found joy in walking Lou as part of her daily exercise. “We would walk around the cemetery and she stopped when we walked by the flags in the veterans part of the cemetery. I told her it was okay and we kept walking.” 

    Gretchen, like all of our volunteers, use kindness, care, and positive reinforcement in even the simplest of moments to ensure our service dogs are confident and fearless.

    “I happened to be picking up some items when Lou was being picked up by her family and she jumped up and gave me a hug before leaving. Hopefully she is doing well.”

    Gretchen continues to volunteer because she says it’s “life-changing.”

    “Reading the stories from clients is all it takes. Everyone in the organization is helpful and appreciative of any assistance that is provided. It’s easy to learn new positions and see how to help.”

    Thank you to Gretchen, as well as our community of volunteers serving a variety of roles, all crucial to our life-changing mission.