Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Come Dine with Us at Second Annual 'Tables & Tails'!

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is one of the laws that helps ensure people who use service dogs can access buildings and businesses in the course of their daily lives. Together with Iowa restaurateurs, Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this landmark legislation with its Second Annual "Tables & Tales" event!

Throughout July, select Central and Eastern Iowa restaurants will contribute a portion of proceeds to support training service and mobility dogs 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."

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a Des Moines, Iowa-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and regularly hosts NADAC-sanctioned dog-agility events for fun and fund-raising. Its new Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

"Restaurant and bar owners, hospitality managers, and food service personnel are often at the front lines of ensuring that guests who use service dogs are able to exercise their rights of public access hassle-free," says Shumate. "Service dogs aren’t pets or companions. Instead, a service dog is trained to perform physical tasks to mitigate a given person’s one or more medical conditions. The reasons for someone using a service dog may not be visible, but they are vital to that person’s quality of life."

"It’s just like using a cane, or wearing glasses,” she says. “And the law protects all of us."

Patrons can participate in "Tables & Tails" by dining at these sponsoring restaurants:
  • Eden's "Sundae Sunday," featuring ice cream from Indianola's Outside Scoop: July 26, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Additional sponsored prizes and events are provided by:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dog Scouts Troop No. 232 Hits the Trail for Badges

PHOTO: Paws & Effect
Members of various Paws & Effect programs recently established Dog Scouts Troop No. 232. The troop is an affiliate of Dog Scouts of America, a non-profit that started in 1989. Through a certification and specialty "merit badge" program incorporating more than 80 awards, the organization promotes safe, fun, and ethical activities for dogs and their handlers. There are more than 38 posts nationwide, in more than 22 states.

Merit badges categories include those in scouting, community service, agility, trail work, and other activities.

Dog Scouts and their handlers must be capable of acting as good citizens, including sit, down, stay, come, heel and leave it. Handlers must successfully pass a 33-question written examination. The written test covers topics such as: reward-based training, learning theory, and the mission of Dog Scouts of America.

As of June 10, a pawful of Troop 232 dogs have already achieved the Dog Scout certification and title. Prior to certification, dogs are optionally called "Cadet Scouts."

"Sponsoring Dog Scout activities are a great way to regularly gather people and dogs together, especially those who may live too far away for weekly classes," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "Service dog recipients and Pet Partners will now have options that are more accommodating to their circumstances. Plus, what military veteran doesn't immediately want their dog to 'tab-out,' with plenty of qualification badges?"

At a weekend troop meeting conducted at Brown's Woods in West Des Moines, Iowa, participants worked toward their Hiking badges. The next weekend-long troop meeting will be Sept. 25-27, 2015. Training and preparation will take place on Friday and Saturday, with evaluations on Sunday.

Paws & Effect plans to conduct smaller, 2-hour badge workshops once or twice a month. All dogs are welcome at all meetings, whether they have earned their Dog Scout badge or not. The first workshop will be Fri., June 19 at 7 p.m. Participants will work toward their Manners badges.

A Facebook page for the Dog Scouts organization is here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

We Celebrate 9 Years by Opening Our New Storefront!

Simultaneously celebrating its ninth year of training service, therapy, and other animals, Paws & Effect has officially opened the doors of its new storefront facility in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa!

The address of our 1,500-square-foot space is 2629 Beaver Ave.—just a few doors down from landmark independent bookseller, Beaverdale Books!

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a Des Moines, Iowa-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and regularly hosts NADAC-sanctioned dog-agility events for fun and fund raising.

"As we gallop toward our 10th anniversary next year, establishing our own training and meet-up space was the next natural milestone for our organization," says Nicole Shumate, executive director for Paws & Effect. "We're building and sustaining our communities—puppy-raisers, dog trainers, Pet Partners, Dog Scouts, military veterans, allies and others—people and animals working together, for our mutual good."

The new space features an office, training space, a community blackboard wall, and a reading room and lending library for both pets and handlers! Training class schedules and other events are now available! Sign up here!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

'Far from the Tree' is Book Club Selection for June 25

The next Paws & Effect Book Club selection for 2015 is "Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity" by Andrew Solomon.

The discussion will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thurs., June 25, 2105 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.

"Far From the Tree is one of the most compassionate books I have ever read that treads in the deep, deep water of human differences," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "This book attempts and succeeds in bringing in a unique point of view about differences; front and foremost it includes those family members and friends who love that person who is different."

"Paws & Effect works with people every day whose lives may be very different from our own," Shumate continues. "This book both honors and celebrates differences, quickly doing away with stigma and prejudice, often finding perspectives that allow the rest of us to embrace the very things that we deemed difficult to begin with."

The 976-page (including 200 pages of notes) book is also available available on Kindle or unabridged audiobook formats.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No (April) Foolin' Around!



Paws & Effect is excited to offer pet dog classes! We've brought together an experienced staff and some new-to-Des Moines opportunities.  With a commitment to positive and clicker training, community members can now benefit from the same techniques as our service dogs and Pet Partner therapy teams.

Paws & Effect is excited to introduce Ashley Anderson and Haylee Bergeland, who will be joining Heddie Leger, Nicole Shumate and Eric Shumate.  This well-rounded team brings various backgrounds and experiences, creating a fun dynamic.

Ashley is our lead service dog trainer, the first Iowa Karen Pryor Academy graduate with her certification as a training professional (KPA-CPT).  Years of showing her own dogs in rally, obedience and agility gives Ashley an understanding of what is expected in the show ring, offset by her practical experiences raising and training service dogs (give Ashley a big congratulations on her recent accomplishment of raising the first ever clicker trained guide dog for Guide Dogs for the Blind)!

Haylee joins Paws & Effect with experience training shelter and rescue dogs.  She has worked as a training coordinator and behavior specialist for a large sized shelter, overseeing the development of dogs after they were adopted.  Haylee has an Associate Degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in animal behavior and husbandry.

Heddie comes to Paws & Effect with a Certification for Pet Dog Trainers-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA).  With years of experience as a dog trainer for Missouri's Puppies For Parole, Heddie combines her vast Pet Partner and Dog Scout knowledge as an instructor and evaluator for both organizations.

Nicole brings more than a decade of experience as a Pet Partner evaluator and instructor, with a never-ending enthusiasm.  Originally (and still wholeheartedly!) a Denver Pet Partner, she has a keen eye for making the most of what our dogs bring to our lives.  Eric is also a Pet Partner evaluator and instructor, bringing his perspective to Paws & Effect after serving for many years on the National Pet Partner Committee.

Classes will run over six weeks at a cost of $100, meeting once each week for an hour with a limit of six students.  Discounts are extended to veterans, military members, Pet Partners and Paws & Effect service dog recipients. Check out our training page for information and to register for all of our classes by clicking here!

We're looking forward to meeting you (and your dog) soon!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our Next NADAC-sanctioned Agility Trials are May 2-3!

Entries are now open for the next Paws & Effect NADAC Agility Trials, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3, 2015 at the Jester Park Equestrian Center, 11171 N.W. 103rd Court, Granger, Iowa north of Des Moines. The judge will be Robin Carberry of Joliet, Ill.

The premium describing the event's rules and other details is downloadable as a PDF here. Entries are open from March 17, 2015 to both days of the event.

A Facebook page for the event is here.

The purpose of events sanctioned by the North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) is "to demonstrate the ability of a dog and its handler to work as a smoothly functioning team." They are also great opportunities to meet up with other dogs and their enthusiasts. For general rules and information on NADAC events, click here.

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a Des Moines, Iowa-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and regularly hosts NADAC-sanctioned dog-agility events for fun and fund raising.

Paws & Effect is also widely known for its dog-agility programs, through which children participate in physical, occupational, and speech therapy while taking a therapy dog through an agility course.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Next Book Club Selection: 'In a Dog's Heart,' April 16

The second Paws & Effect Book Club selection for 2015 is "In a Dog's Heart: A Compassionate Guide to Canine Care, from Adopting to Teaching to Bonding"by Jennifer Arnold. In 1991, Arnold founded Canine Assistants, a Milton, Ga.-based non-profit that trains service and seizure-response dogs for children and adults diagnosed with medical needs.

According to her biography, Arnold and her family learned about the value of mobility dogs after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and spent two years of her adolescence using a wheelchair-user.

"I have come to believe that dogs are among God's greatest creations," Arnold writes on her Amazon author page. "I also believe that we have a responsibility to treat them with respect and kindness. Force and intimidation have no place in working with dogs."

"In a Dog's Heart" is Arnold's second book. Her first, "Through a Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs by Understanding How They See the World" was turned into a one-hour television program on PBS.

The Paws & Effect book club discussion will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thurs., Apr. 7, 2105 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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Join Us for Our Third Annual Cross-Country Race & Walk!

In our third annual event, participants in Paws & Effect's Cross Country Race will have the options to run 5k or 10k, or walk 5k. We're excited to announce this year's event will be held at Living History Farms, Urbandale, Iowa! The event is Sun., June 7, 2015. The 5k starts at 8:30 a.m. The 10k starts at 9 a.m.

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


Pets are welcome.

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The Central Iowa organization also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and hosts community dog-agility trials as fund-raising events.

Proceeds from the Cross Country Race will not only help Paws & Effect fulfill its mission, but also help to ensure that recipients receive service dogs free of charge.

REGISTRATION

Register through our friends at GetMeRegistered! Registration fees provide entry to the race 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 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.

Packet pickup will be on the Sat., June 6—the same day as Living History Farm's "Fido on the Farm" event!

CHIP TIMER PICK-UP

Chips will be picked up the morning of the event 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

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

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

For more information about the event, or to find out more about Paws & Effect, e-mail: nicoleshumate@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, February 4, 2015

Winners Named in 'One Heart, Four Paws' Writing Contest

Paws & Effect is pleased to announce the winners of the first-ever national writing and art contest, conducted as part of its annual "One Heart, Four Paws" gala event," a celebration of the connections among humans and animals. Awards of $100 each were presented in non-fiction and fiction writing. Additional and special awards were presented in non-fiction, poetry, and youth categories.

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The Central Iowa organization also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and hosts community dog-agility trials as fund-raising events.

 "The many bonds among humans and animals—how we live with and help each other—are the tools we use daily at Paws & Effect, the stories we tell," says Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "This contest created an opportunity to explore and express those narratives in new ways."

The contest was administered by Middle West Press, Johnston, Iowa. "This was an experiment, and we didn't quite know what to expect," says Randy Brown, who facilitated the judges' discussions. "We were gratified to hear so many voices, telling stories that were often inspiring, sometimes touching, and always heartfelt."

Winner of the non-fiction essay category is Terri Crisp of Somerset, Calif., for her essay regarding the rescue of Atiti, a dog from Northern Iraq. The female dog was partially paralyzed when children threw rocks at her, but a sympathetic soldier intervened and assist Crisp in the animal's rescue. "In addition to being an inspiration, this dog is an effective teacher," Crisp writes ...
Amazingly, she managed to wiggle her way into the heart of one Kurdish soldier and eventually the people from the village of Atiti, giving them the opportunity to do something kind for a dog instead. Hopefully, that lifesaving lesson stuck and other dogs in Iraq are now benefiting from their kindness because of what one dog taught them.

Atiti calls Virginia home. With the assistance of a custom-made cart, she goes where she wants and does what she wants, continuing to overcome any obstacles that try to get in her way. That’s why Atiti is alive today.
Judges awarded an additional recognition to the non-fiction work of Barry J. Holcomb, for his essay regarding the challenge and reward of retraining Karma, a Siberian Husky, while participating in a corrections-based vocational program. Holcomb's essay reads, in part:
That night, when we got back to the cell, she sat down for me to remove the leash, and there was no biting my hand when I reached for her collar. Believe me when I tell you this was a great relief. Later that night, Karma was laying on her pace staring at me with her icy blue eyes. 
I reached down to pet her, and, rather than immediately wrapping her teeth around my hand and working her way up my arm, she rolled over and gave me her belly. I laid down on the floor and she nuzzled her head against my chest and let me pet her for quite a while. I believe Karma felt my pain and she realized I cared for her and wanted the best for her, so she lowered her guard and let me in. We made a connection.
Winner of the fiction category is Donna B. Crisler of Lakewood, Colo., for her work "Goldie's First Assignment." The work excerpts Crisler's current writing project, a children's mystery book written in "first-person"—from a service-dog's perspective!

While no outright winner was presented in the poetry category, select finalists were each awarded a copy of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver's 2013 collection "Dog Songs."

Incorporating their writing into a "service"-themed curricula, nearly 50 fifth-graders from Lone Tree Elementary, Lone Tree, Iowa, entered the contest's youth category with stories both imaginative and creative.

Six Awards for Writing Excellence were presented to Lone Tree students, in recognition of exemplary work. In alphabetical order, they are:
  • Kyle Andersen, 10, wrote a short story about a veteran whose life is made better by a service dog named Sniper.
  • Xavier Hayes, 11, wrote a story of an Air Force veteran who adopts three puppies: Clumsy, Naughty, and Charger.
  • Alivia Hemsted, 11, told of a Labrador named Hazel, who can practically talk, and whose human friend is a Nashville girl named Carly Clementine.
  • Alyssa Knock, 10, told a story about a disabled veteran who rescues a dog.
  • Tyler Randlett, 10, wrote of Smokey, his grandfather's bomb dog in World War II.
  • Rafael Villarreal III, 11, wrote and illustrated a tribute to his late dog, Palomo.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Proposed Iowa Law Would License Service Dog Trainers

PHOTO: Paws & Effect
Reacting to reports of inadequately trained service animals, Iowa state Sen. Matt McCoy will propose 2015 legislation that will require the licensure of all service dog trainers every other year. Service dog trainers would be required to meet minimum standards established by Assistance Dogs International (A.D.I.), a Santa Rosa, Calif.-based coalition of not-for-profit organizations that promotes the professional and ethical training of animals.

A formal statement from the office of Sen. McCoy is pending.

Iowa state Sen. Matt McCoy
McCoy is a Democrat who represents District 21 in Polk County, with constituents in Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Cumming. He has served in the Iowa state legislature since 1997.

McCoy's proposed legislation will also create a process by which handlers could be provided a way to identify a trained service animal.

The Americans with Disability Act (A.D.A.) and other federal laws prohibit requiring special licenses, registrations, or uniforms for service animals. Business owners and property managers must provide access to handlers using service animals, unless the animal creates an unsafe or unhealthy environment.

"Service animals are trained to perform specific physical tasks to offset his or her disabilities," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "These are not 'companions,' or 'pets,' or 'emotional assistance' animals. Instead, these working dogs provide their handlers guidance, mobility, and confidence—keys to an improved quality of life."

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The organization also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and hosts community dog-agility trials as fund-raising events.

"Inadequately trained animals and those fraudulently represented as service dogs create a a risk to the public, diluting the strength of public access laws for those individuals who adhere to accessibility laws," Shumate says.

"We are supporting Sen. McCoy's legislative efforts because licensing service dog trainers is a step toward protecting service dog recipients."