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PAWS HISTORY


Paws With A Cause enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education and advocacy.

PAWS provides services in 30 states and has placed more than 2,500 Assistance Dogs throughout the country. There are more than 180 volunteer Foster Puppy Raisers and hundreds of people volunteering for PAWS as either breeding host families, community presenters or volunteers at special events.

PAWS trains several types of Assistance Dogs:

 

Paws with a Cause

PAWS THROUGH THE YEARS


1979

  • PAWS Founder Mike Sapp trains the first Hearing Dog, CRYSTAL
, to help a friend

1981

  • Mike and Antoinette (Candye) Sapp formally incorporate Ears For The Deaf®


1982

  • A friend of Mike and Candye’s, Joe Russo, donates storefront property for training space
  • Mike Sapp begins giving presentations to service organizations, such as AMVETS and Lions Clubs International

1984

  • Mike Sapp speaks to the Michigan Legislature to help initiate the inclusion of Service Dogs into the existing public access laws for Guide and Hearing Dogs

1985

  • Ears For The Deaf trains its first Service Dog, CIDER

1987

  • Ears For The Deaf becomes a United Way agency
  • Telephone Pioneers raise $120,000 to purchase location for a training facility

1988

  • Ears For The Deaf trains its first Seizure Response Dog
  • Ears For The Deaf becomes a national project of the AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary

1989

  • Ears For The Deaf changes its name to Paws With A Cause® (PAWS®)

  • PAWS breeds its first litter of Foster Puppies


1990

  • PAWS receives national exposure through the Dear Abby column, resulting in gaining a Head Assistance Dog Trainer

1991

  • PAWS adds a Southeastern Michigan Regional Representative

  • Paws With A Cause designs its corporate logo
  • PAWS trains its 500th Assistance Dog

1993

  • PAWS partners with Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida to train and certify first Service/Guide Dog
  • PAWS joins the Combined Federal Campaign

1995

  • PAWS trains its 1,000th Assistance Dog
  • PAWS moves into National Headquarters on Division Avenue in Wayland, Michigan

1996

  • Michigan Governor John Engler asks Mike Sapp to attend the signing of a bill into law that granted public access rights to Assistance Dog trainers

1998

  • PAWS builds the Canine Evaluation Center and establishes on-site Veterinary Department
  • PAWS forms a Research and Development department

2002

  • PAWS is accredited by Assistance Dogs International

2003

  • PAWS builds the Canine Development Facility to house the Breeding and Foster Puppy departments

2004

  • PAWS celebrates 25 years of enhancing independence for people with disabilities
  • NBC’s Today Show features PAWS

2005

  • Social Support Dog program begins, providing emotional support and companionship for clients who may not qualify for a fully-certified Assistance Dog

2006

  • PAWS trains its 2,000th Assistance Dog

2007

  • PAWS Co-Founder and CEO, Candye Sapp retires
  • COO Mike Sapp becomes CEO

2009

  • PAWS launches pilot program to train Service Dogs for Children with Autism

2010

  • PAWS Apprentice Trainer program becomes the first Assistance Dog training program recognized and registered by the United States Department of Labor

2012

  • PAWS Co-Founder Candye Sapp passes away
  • PAWS trains its 2,500th Assistance Dog

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