Power Paws pairs up assistance dogs with folks in need

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Man's best friend is bringing hope, help and healing to those in need around the valley.

Power Paws is an organization that pairs skilled assistance dogs with children and adults with disabilities.  “We are like a match.com for service dogs and people,” says Carrie Dillabo, associate director for Power Paws.

Power Paws trains Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers in 90 different commands, including opening and closing doors and drawers, turning lights on and off, pushing elevator buttons, retrieving dropped items, alerting to sounds and detecting and alerting to changes in blood sugar levels.

The three types of assistance Power Paws mostly trains for are Mobility Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Diabetic Alert Dogs for people with Type 1 Diabetes.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 25 million Americans can't walk a quarter of a mile or even climb 10 stairs without some kind of assistance.

Power Paws Assistance Dogs was founded by Shoshanna Abels, who was raised in a family where community service was highly valued. Shoshanna’s family became volunteer puppy-raisers for several assistance dog organizations, and Shoshanna found her passion in this program. Since 2001, Power Paws has certified 85 working dog teams and currently has more than 40 dogs in training.

You can help make difference through a special fund-raising event this week, as the Waste Management Phoenix Open swings into town. Power Paws is now collecting pledges for Birdies for Charity, a fund-raising program of the Open, and Thunderbird Charities.

Through Birdies for Charity, Power Paws will have the opportunity to generate funds through pledges that are based on the number of “Birdies” made by the PGA TOUR players during the tournament week of Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, 2014.

Pledges can be made online at Birdiesforcharityaz.com.  Make sure to select Power Paws Assistance Dogs (#246). All collected pledges will go towards the care and training of highly skilled assistance dogs to help children and adults with disabilities.

To make a pledge by phone or email, contact Development Manager, linda@azpowerpaws.org with a pledge amount, first and last name, email, address and phone number. After the tournament, pledgees will receive an invoice from Thunderbird Charities who will give 100 percent of the collected pledges to Power Paws, in addition to a 10 percent bonus on the total amount collected.

For additional information, contact Power Paws at (480) 970-1322. You can also visit the organization's website or Facebook page.