Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Welcome, Daniel!

Paws & Effect would like to take this opportunity to officially welcome Daniel Gorchals as the Director of Operations!

Daniel was born and raised in Central Wisconsin. Shortly after graduating high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Daniel was a Security Forces member as well as a marksman in his career field. His specialty was the personal protection of foreign and domestic dignitaries. Daniel served all four years of his Active Duty Service Overseas to include Europe and the Middle East.

Daniel's duties will include fundraising, public speaking, peer support, and a positive public presence with his Service Dog "Arlington". Daniel brings a large skill set and eagerness to this organization and is an incredible asset to our mission. We couldn't be happier to have him with us!  Feel free to contact him at danielgorchals@paws-effect.org.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Paws & Effect Fall Festival NADAC dog agility trial is almost here. Download the premium and enter today. Prepare to have a teriffic time — and look forward to a great way to spend time with your dogs enjoying the beautiful early Fall weather, too! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014 and Sunday, September 14, 2014
Camp Dodge, Johnston, IA

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

'Plenty of LIfe is Free' for Book Club on Sept. 4

The fourth Paws & Effect Book Club selection for 2014 is "Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace" by animal behaviorist Kathy Sdao.

The discussion will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 4 at the Grand View University main campus library, Des Moines, Iowa.

The library is located on East 14th Street, between Grandview and Morton Avenues. For directions to campus and maps, click here.

The book relates how Sdao has developed a philosophy that emphasizes mutual reinforcement among trainers and their animals, rather than establishing rules that hinder the human's abilities to share affection and attention with animals they're training.

According to press materials:
[R]enowned dog trainer Kathy Sdao reveals how her journey through life and her decades of experience training marine mammals and dogs led her to reject a number of sacred cows including the leadership model of dog training. She describes in narrative fashion how she has come to focus her own training philosophy which emphasizes developing partnerships in which humans and dogs exchange reinforcements and continually cede the upper hand to one another.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Come Dine with Us at the Inaugural 'Tables & Tails'!

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is one of the laws that helps ensure people who use service animals can access buildings and businesses in the course of their daily lives. Together with local restauranteurs, help Paws & Effect celebrate the 24th anniversary of this landmark legislation with its inaugural "Tables & Tales" event!

Throughout the week, select Central Iowa restaurants will contribute a portion of proceeds to support training service and mobility animals for children and military veterans.

"These business owners regularly open their doors to make dining experiences that are memorable, safe, and enjoyable for all patrons," says Nicole Shumate, executive director of Paws & Effect. "We're humbled that they're extending their hospitality to help us celebrate and improve service-dog access in our community."

You can participate in "Tables & Tails" by dining at these sponsoring restaurants:

July 23:
Encore Pizza
5775 Merle Hay Road
Johnston, IA 50131

Flying Mango
4345 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50310
July 24, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.:
Culver's of West Des Moines
1820 22nd Street
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Culver's of West Des Moines
101 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Culver's of Urbandale, IA
8660 Plum Drive
Urbandale, IA 50322
July 26:
Trostel's Dish
12851 University Avenue Suite 400
Clive, IA 50325

Trostel's Greenbriar Bar & Restaurant
5810 Merle Hay Road
Johnston, IA 50131
July 27:
Eden (during its "Sundae Sundays" event, and featuring ice cream by Indianola's Outside Scoop)
418 E. 6th street
Des Moines, IA 50309

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Donates $138,000!

Nolan, a child residing in Polk County, Iowa, was on hand to thank donors. 
He looks forward to receiving his own autism-assistance dog in July 2014.
The Iowa State Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) recently donated more than $138,000 to Paws & Effect, so that the Central Iowa non-profit trainer of service animals could maintain and expand its production of dogs specially trained for children with autism.

The donation was the result of fund-raising efforts from 39 FOE chapters, called "aeries," across the state. And donations continue to arrive. "The funds raised will be vitally important in growing and maintaining our efforts to serve children with autism," says Nicole Shumate, executive director of Paws & Effect.

Service animals are trained to perform physical tasks in support of a specific individual. By law, service animals are granted access to public spaces along with their handlers.

The cost of a finished service animal can range from $15,000 to $25,000 each, given training, food, veterinary care, uniforms, equipment, and other costs borne by the Paws & Effect organization. Paws & Effect trains service and mobility animals for military veterans, children, and others. Animals are placed at no cost to recipients, and those recipients train directly with their animals prior to the dogs' "graduation."

Paws & Effect has previously placed three dogs with children with autism, and two more dogs are nearly ready to graduate. A new class of puppies will arrive in the fall.

Serving children with autism is an outgrowth of Paws & Effects' long-standing commitment to children with special healthcare needs. Through its "Abilities Through Agility" program, Paws & Effect has been working since 2007 with another Central Iowa non-profit, ChildServe, to pair children and therapy animals in pursuing physical-, occupational-, and speech-therapy objectives. Unlike service animals, therapy animals are trained and socialized to serve general populations.

"For such a small and scrappy organization like ours, those years of experience put us on the cutting edge of developing service animals for children with specialized healthcare needs," says Shumate. "Nationwide, we seem to be one of the leading organizations working in this way."

The Fraternal Order of Eagles' mission is "an international non-profit organization, [that] unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope."

According to the organization, national membership exceeds 850,000, with more than 1,400 local aeries in the United States and Canada. Women's auxiliaries total more than 1,300, with more than 250,000 members.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Iowa Craft Beer Company to Donate Sales

The newly launched Old Legion Brewing Company, Ladora, Iowa, is donating a 15 percent of sales of its inaugural "Big Gun Lager" to Paws & Effect, a central Iowa-based non-profit that trains service animals for military veterans and others.

The company mission statement reads, "Old Legion Brewing Company's mission is to provide a quality, military themed craft beer at a fair price, engage the beer drinking community to build awareness of veteran issues, employ veterans, and raise money for local veteran causes."

Ladora restauranteur and Old Legion founder Dimitri Makedonsky (recently profiled in the Des Moines Register) was inspired to start the company after renovating a former American Legion hall. While not a brewer himself, he has contracted the production of Old Legion recipes to Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, Wis.

Each Old Legion label features a tribute to a military veteran—the first will be B-24 pilot Robert Ahrens of Jewell, Iowa. Makedonsky, 52, is himself an Army and Air Force veteran, and other family members are, too. Makedonsky invites Iowans to nominate other veterans for future labels.

The company will placing official military seal and symbols on its products. Instead, Big Gun Lager appropriately features the silhouette of a tank. The company describes the beer as having "light aromas of malt and grain, a pleasant hoppy bitterness with a hint of sweetness. Big Gun Lager was placed in cold storage (lagered) for a minimum of 35 days resulting in its clean, crisp, smooth taste." The product is 5 percent alcohol by volume.

Makedonsky is currently seeking to hire veterans and others to establish a distribution beachhead. Contact the company via: careers AT oldlegionbrewing.com

Meanwhile, he's also personally visiting veterans' halls and small-town taverns to find distribution for some 4,400 cases that will soon be "air-dropped" into Iowa. He can be reached at cell phone: 641.990.9360.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

July 10 Book Club Selection: Sebastian Junger's 'War'

The third Paws & Effect Book Club selection for 2014 is "War," by Sebastian Junger. The discussion will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thurs., July 10 at the Grand View University main campus library, Des Moines, Iowa.

The library is located on East 14th Street, between Grandview and Morton Avenues. For directions to campus and maps, click here.

The 2011 book was written by Sebastian Junger, who also wrote "The Perfect Storm". Junger, along with photographer Tim Hetherington, repeatedly embedded as media with a U.S. infantry company in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley in 2007-08. In 2010, they made an Oscar-nominated documentary "Restrepo." A second documentary about the experience, "Korengal," will be released theatrically later this year.

As narratives, "War" and "Restrepo" are complements to each other. In far more detail and depth, however, the book tells the story not only of how the soldiers of Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team fought the fight, but how they came to the fight in the first place. It also tells where it left them afterward.

One of the soldiers mentioned in "War" is Iowan Salvatore Giunta, who received the Medal of Honor for actions described in the book. Junger's "War" is an accessible, enlightening, and sometimes gritty read for those who want to learn about how American soldiers lived, fought, died, and survived in Eastern Afghanistan. By way of example, here are some quick excerpts of the plainspoken prose from the hardcover edition:
Every time you drove down the road you were engaged in a twisted existential exercise where each moment was the only proof you'd ever have that you hadn't been blown upon the moment before. [p. 142] 
Rear-base limbo: an ill blend of apprehension and boredom that is only relieved by going forward where things are even worse. [p. 199] 
When I asked the men about their allegiance to one another, they said they would unhesitatingly risk their lives for anyone in the platoon or company, but that the sentiment dropped off pretty quickly after that. By the time you got to the brigade level–three or four thousand men–any sense of common goals or identity was pretty much theoretical. [p. 242]
The book is available in bargain-priced hardcover, trade paperback, mass-market paperback, and other formats.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hero Dog Awards: Vote for Cadence Before June 6!

Since 2012, the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards program has recognized the animals that help humans in ways ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary. One of this year's 24 semi-finalists is Cadence, a 9-year-old black and white Catahoula whose charity partner is Paws & Effect, Des Moines, Iowa.

Cadence is nominated in the Therapy dog category of the Hero Dog Awards contest. Other categories are:
  • Arson dogs
  • Guide and hearing dogs
  • Law-enforcement dogs
  • Military dogs 
  • Search and rescue dogs
  • Service dogs
Cadence began her mission as a therapy dog through the Delta Society's Pet Partners program in 2006. With love, patience, and strength, she has helped kids overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Friends describe Cadence as even-tempered, but exuberant.

"She's attracted to children and activity," says handler Nicole Shumate, who is also executive director of Paws & Effect. "She occasionally screams around the agility course—she has a career tally of exactly zero points in agility competitions—but absolutely loves being with kids."

In 2007, Cadence helped to start the Abilities Through Agility program at ChildServe, a non-profit provider of specialized health care to Central Iowa children. There, she helps special needs children reach their rehabilitation and developmental goals through agility activities. Since then, the program has expanded to a number of therapy dogs who touch the hearts of ChildServe children on a weekly basis. Cadence has also broken barriers in the court system, recently helping a special little girl though an extremely difficult trial.

The girl was housed at Youth Emergency Services & Shelter ("YESS"), and was a witness for the prosecution in an emotional case. Cadence helped the victim through the intense, agonizing court processes. Cadence—sensing the girl's vulnerability and unimaginable pain—dutifully curled near her feet each and every day, despite the stress and long hours. The assistant county attorney said, "I requested assistance from Cadence in facilitating communications with a child victim that was having a hard time ... Cadence provided companionship and distraction for the child, allowing the child to move past her negative feelings and work with me to proceed with the case."

Vote for Cadence at this page. Each day until the June 6, 2014 deadline, voters may vote for one dog in each category. Those receiving the most votes will advance to finalist.

According to the Hero Dog Awards website, "every finalist will be presented with a Hero Dog award for their feats of loyalty, bravery, and love, and win $1,500 for a selected charity partner. In addition, one finalist will walk away with top honors as the winning American Hero Dog for 2014, securing an additional $5,000 for their charity partner."

Friday, May 2, 2014

Register for 2nd Annual 'Service Dog People Jog' 5K!

Reposting this reminder from last month ...

Thanks to the terrific turnout at 2013's inaugural Service Dog People Jog, we're excited to announce this year's event! Paws & Effect's Service Dog People Jog 5K run and walk is set for Sunday, June 8 at 9 a.m. at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines, Iowa. 

The Youth Dash/Run is set for 10 a.m. (FREE for kids 12 and under).

The Service Dog People Jog (SDPJ) is a 5K walk/run benefiting Paws & Effect, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. P&E raises, trains, and places professionally-trained service dogs with disabled veterans and children. Proceeds not only allow P&E to fulfill their mission, but also help to ensure that recipients receive service dogs free of charge.

Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Paws & Effect and will assist with the care and placement of P&E service dogs to veterans and children with disabilities. The funds raised will also elp to ensure that service dogs are placed at no cost to recipients.

Register through our friends at GetMeRegistered! Registration fees provide entry to the 5K and trophies (awarded for designated categories). Following the race, you'll enjoy a root beer float in a custom Paws & Effect glass (yours to keep!) along with an array of snacks. You’ll also hear from veteran recipients of Paws & Effect service dogs.

Children ages 12 & under are free.

You can also purchase Paws & Effect T-shirts for $20 at the event.


Saturday, June 7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location will be announced soon.

Sunday, June 8, 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Raccoon River Park, Coneflower Shelters


Chips will be picked up the morning of the 5K from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. All chip timers will be collected at the finish line. A fee will be charged for chips not turned in at the end of the race.


Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. Categories will be announced soon.


Registrants will receive an email with specific details concerning the 5K. You can also keep informed about Paws & Effect through our website, our Facebook page, and the ServiceDog People Jog event page.

For more information about the 5K, or to find out more about Paws & Effect, email info@paws-effect.org.

PLEASE NOTE: No refunds will be issued in the event of inclement weather or other unforseen challenges whereas the event would need to be cancelled.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Behind the Scenes: When Dogs Train to Fly

See the recent KCCI-TV report here.
Today's air travelers know to anticipate such stresses as cramped conditions, long lines, and weather delays. That's why service-animal trainers work with airline and airport personnel to ensure that working dogs are prepped and ready for take-off.

As specified by the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (A.C.A.A.) , service animals may accompany their handlers in airports and on flights. As working animals, service dogs are trained to assist individual handlers with specific physical tasks, in order to mitigate physical or mental conditions. Under the access law, handlers are not charged extra for having their service animals travel with them.

Recently, a group of military veterans working with Paws & Effect, a Central Iowa non-profit that trains mobility and other service animals, were featured in a news report on KCCI-TV, Des Moines. In the report, the veterans and their new dogs are shown successfully negotiating an obstacle course of security baggage checks and boarding procedures.

Personnel from the Des Moines International Airport and Frontier Airlines also assisted in the training event.

Just as in other public settings, fellow travelers can help dog-handlers and animals by knowing about access laws, and not distracting handlers and animals while they are working. Dogs are trained to place themselves under seats, in order to keep aisles and exits clear.

Although there is no such thing as a service-animal "license," Paws & Effect also trains handlers to travel with documents regarding the health and safety of their animals. Information on the state of Iowa's "certificate of veterinary inspection," for example, includes identifying information such as microchip number, and vaccination history.