Friday, April 25, 2008


Saturday April 12, 2008. was a very special day for PAWS 4 LIFE, as they all gathered for class , and took photo’s of a pup that has been in training for a while and, its new owner Vincent Schafer. This was all made possible through a lady whose dog is already in training to become a service dog. Back in December of 2008 Susan Hurst had to have surgery, and called on PAWS 4 LIFE to assist her with her dog. She was rehabbing in a facility in Mesa. Her dog birthed early. She all of a sudden had herself in a hospital, her husband in a facility, and her dog having pups, and was overwhelmed, and needed assistance. PAWS 4 LIFE got involved, and helped her out. She decided to donate one of her pups to our organization, to go to someone who was handicapped, or disabled. We have now come full circle with this pup. The pup has a new owner, and they have become involved in her training, and it is a very active relationship between them, and PAWS 4 LIFE.

The pup joined in with the four other pups we had in training, along with some very busy student volunteers, and at one time there were seven pups in training. They continued to work with the pups on a regular basis, and it started to show in the learning process. Of course, at the end of a session they were still pups, and all so cute at the same time. It is amazing the changes that have occurred, and how fast the pups have joined in with the other dogs in in their basic obedience classes. They are all learning so fast, and changing so fast. People are beginning to ask the owners: “What are you feeding them, Miracle Grow?” The students are growing right along with their assigned pups. It is a learning process for all.

Meanwhile PAWS, which is a non profit organization, and fairly new, began taking in applications for people who were handicapped, and disabled. A couple by the name of Vincent, and Mary Lou Schafer came to the PAWS booth at Lost Dutchman days, and were told of the application process, and they applied, and began the process. This pup will go on to be a hearing impaired service dog. They both are totally 100% hearing impaired, and qualified. The doctor did his part of filling out the necessary paperwork, and the rest of the process began. Now, Vincent and his wife will begin training for one year solid. They and the pup will be tested by the person who has tested, certified, and registered three of our service dogs already a year from now, and continue to be tested periodically, as will our other service dogs. The test takes over and hour, and the dog and the handler are both tested. The person doing the testing comes from Flagstaff to do the test. By the time this pup tests out, Paws will probably have a few more dogs to be tested, certified, and registered.

The classes are two hours long, with breaks, they (all attendees) are learning both verbal, and hand signals, due to we have more than one hearing impaired person in the classes. It is quite interesting to see both the hearing impaired, and those that hear work side by side. The exciting part is: Mr. Schafer and his wife teaching all of us the sign language also. We have our basic hand signals, for the classes, but they are going to teach us further, so we can all communicate while in class, or in public. You never know in a crowd what will happen, and should you need to get your dog, or another dog, and they can not hear you, it doesn’t hurt to have both human, and the dog know sign language should this ever happen.

As mentioned earlier we are a fairly new organization however, none of the members, are new to training, working with dogs, or handicapped people. We do presentation’s, and participate in functions so that all; can be knowledgeable about different types of service dogs, or types of training, and classes. We even have a class lined up for the dogs to be trained around horses, so they learn how to act around horses, and the handlers will learn at the same time. It is a constant learning process for all. In fact; this year all of the service dogs went to the Elks club to meet the Clydesdale horse, and have their photo’s taken with the large horse, and to see how they would inter act around the large horse. They all did very well and even did well with the crowd that was present. One of our service dogs Simon was actually allowed in by the “Budweiser Wagon” and had his photo taken with them, and Ranger Lt. Ron Corbin. It truly was and important day for all. At the Elks Club the large horse leaned down and kissed one of the dogs. It was like magic watching the interaction between one large horse, and the dog.

We have training four times a month, and try to meet the needs of all time frames so the working people can participate. Our tester has not only had sixteen years experience in training, she has judged in competition, and performed with dogs in competition. She began training dogs back in the 60’s, and continued to train. She works with the testing of both service dogs, and other obedience testing. Mary Helen has been a wealth of knowledge for our organization, and has been working very hard for our legislation in this state to be more exact when it comes to the terms of a service dog. She is very active in training, and helps other people train, and has been a big help with us for our dogs. Her dog “Buster” tested with our three last January 17th on 2007, and it was very interesting , and a very lengthy test. In other word’s; the test was not done in ten minutes or fifteen minutes, we were still testing one hour later. She gave a very good presentation class before the test also.

Our trainers have different years into training, and all different training levels. The apprenticeship program for students is well and thriving. One will graduate in May, and a new one will start in June of 2008.

Eventually we will be in a facility and have the training available there, and we realize this will take time and money, but we will work towards that goal, and continue to work with service dogs, and offering affordable training, and the student programs, along with pet sitting. We will strive to work with the public also; to educate them more about service dogs and working dogs in general. There are a lot of people that do not know the whole spectrum of the working dog class, and the service dogs. The amount of time and money is put into either, along with long hours, constant training. In the long run it is all well worth it in the end. Sometimes that reward is just a tear in ones eye, or a smile of appreciation, or the good feeling that we get, when we know we have succeeded in what we set out to do. That is to help someone. We are also educating people on responsible pet ownership. The schools have been very open to us coming in and speaking to the students. Showing the dogs, and interacting at times with our program. We sometimes end our classes in song, and hugs, which only signifies that we all are on the same page, when it comes to the pets, or the service dogs. It is a good group of people with the same goals, and a love for their dogs.

For information regarding PAWS 4 LIFE please call: 480-983-5378 or 480-262-5479.

We welcome your interest, and look forward to giving back to the community for which we all belong too. Just seeing the pup and how it is still interacting with all the dogs and other pups in classes, and “Play Date, “tells us it was and is the right thing to do.

It is unconditional love at its best.