Iowa Offenders to Help Raise Future Service Dogs

Paws & Effect Group 2017A group of 13 low-risk inmates serving life sentences at a minimum security facility in Rockwell City will raise, socialize, and care for puppies, so that the dogs can later be trained as service animals via the Des Moines-area non-profit Paws & Effect, Iowa Department of Corrections officials recently announced. The North Central Correctional Facility houses approximately 500 offenders. Located in Rockwell City, Iowa, the institution emphasizes individual accountability and responsibility, and offers a variety of education and life skills programs. Programming also includes vocational education opportunities through Iowa Central Community College, and working in the facility's gardens, which produce more than 30,000 pounds of vegetables annually.

"The North Central Correctional Facility is honored to be given the opportunity to work with Paws & Effect," says Warden Robert Johnson. "Initial interest was formed by offenders convicted of a life sentence who believe this program will provide a means to give back to the communities by providing service animals specifically aimed at assisting veterans and children. These men host a myriad of skill sets as well as possess a deep history in training service animals. We at the North Central Correctional Facility believe this program also fulfills our mission of 'Creating Opportunities for Safer Communities,' as we will be assisting those experiencing specific hurdles in their lives the opportunity to not only feel safe but also thrive in their environment with a beautiful, well-trained therapy/service animal at their side."

Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate says she looks forward to the partnership, particularly as an extension of her organization's foundation in promoting compassion and care through the human-animal bond.

"It is a privilege to work with offenders, whose efforts include contributing to the community in a healthy, effective, and positive way," Shumate says. "Too often, we shun criminals whose crimes will keep them incarcerated for the rest of their lives, foregoing opportunities of rehabilitation. In a state that has eliminated the death penalty, we have an obligation to offenders that extends beyond the minimal physical needs of keeping them alive in a contained and restricted environment."

"The value that offenders will be bringing to Paws & Effect and service dog recipients can not be overstated. With a collective span of decades of service dog training between them, they bring a talent that is difficult to find in any other place. We are honored to stay true to our mission of taking a moment and making a difference."

Through the partnership, Paws & Effect will supply puppies and trainers with dog food, hard chew and pull toys, starter leashes, and collars, clickers, and treat bags. Puppies will work with participating offenders for approximately 18 months, before graduation, placement, and

Service animals are trained to perform physical tasks to assist a specific individual. Given their socialization and obedience training, animals who do not meet service animal requirements may still be employed and placed as therapy animals, performing jobs and boosting morale in libraries, hospitals, and other facilities.

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, 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 group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners. Its Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

Meet the New Pups: The 'Shoe' Litter!

Shoe LitterPaws & Effect, a Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit organization that raises and trains service dogs for military veterans and others, has announced that a new litter of seven service-dogs-in-training has been identified and named. The puppies will be raised by Iowa volunteers for up to 18 months, then professionally trained by staff, and eventually placed with veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or mobility impairments. Psychiatric service dogs assist handlers in navigating stressful environments and situations, both at home and in public, by performing physical tasks. Examples of such tasks include creating non-threatening buffer zones between the handler and strangers, and waking a sleeping handler who is experiencing a nightmare. Mobility animals assist handlers in such physical tasks as walking, grabbing objects, and opening doors. In public, service-dogs often wear uniforms to indicate their special purpose, but these are not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Adidas"Inspired by a fantastic donation of $10,000 from the In My Boots 5K student organization at Des Moines Area Community College's Boone campus, our latest litter of puppies has been named on a theme of hardworking and fast-running footgear,” says Nicole Shumate, executive director of Paws & Effect. "These puppies will first be socialized by volunteers, who will carefully monitor their health and development, before starting training as service animals in about 18 months."

"Paws & Effect provides and places animals with handlers at no charge," says Shumate. "Because the training and healthcare maintenance each animal can reach up to $25,000 each, we rely heavily on volunteers and community fund-raising efforts to help meet our mission!"

The seven puppies of the "Shoe" litter are:

  • Adidas ("Addy")
  • Boots
  • Grommet
  • Lacey
  • Puma
  • Sole
  • Velcro

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, Iowa, 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 group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners. Its Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America

Dine Out During Our 4th 'Tables & Tails' Fund-Raiser!

tables and tails scheduleThe 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 leading Iowa restauranteurs and other Iowa Jaycees, you can help Paws & Effect will celebrate the 27th anniversary of this landmark legislation with its Fourth Annual "Tables & Tales" event! Throughout July, select Central Iowa restaurants will contribute a 10 percent or more of their proceeds to support training service and mobility animals for military veterans, children, and others.

"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 6, 2017 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jason's Deli 3910 University Avenue West Des Moines, IA 50266

July 10, 2017 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guru BBQ 300 West Martin Luther King Jr Parkway #170 Des Moines, IA 50312

July 11, 2017 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Confluence Brewing Company 1235 Thomas Beck Road Des Moines, IA 50315

July 12, 2017 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fong's Pizza & Tiki Bar 1450 S.W. Vintage Parkway #120 Ankeny, IA 50023

July 14, 2017 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. American Legion Bar and Grill 1511 South Union Street Des Moines, IA 50315

July 15, 2017 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gilroy's Kitchen + Pub + Patio 1238 8th Street West Des Moines, IA 50265

July 17, 2017 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Panchero's Mexican Grill 2706 Ingersoll Avenue Des Moines, IA 50312

July 26, 2017 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Flavory Bistro 1450 S.W. Vintage Parkway #160 Ankeny, IA 50023

Book Club Aug. 6, 2017: 'Chosen by a Horse'

chosen by a horseThe next Paws & Effect Book Club selection is the 2007 best-selling memoir "Chosen by a Horse" by Susan Richards. The book tells the story of how Richards rescued a retired race horse named Lay Me Down. According to book jacket copy, "This gentle creature―malnourished, plagued by pneumonia and an eye infection―had endured a rough road, but somehow her heart was still open and generous. It seemed fated that she would come into Susan’s paddock and teach her how to embrace the joys of life despite the dangers of living."

Says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate: "Too often, we underestimate the power of the human-animal bond, brushing aside relationships that are available to us. We shy away from difficulty, from pain, from commitment and challenge. But there, in the times that seem most unbearable, we find the very things we seek: connection and love. In 'Chosen by a Horse,' we are offered the opportunity to follow the journey one woman makes when she accepts the inevitable hardships that come with sharing the pain of another, and to witness the outcomes that are possible."

In Central Iowa, the book club session will be moderated by Ashley Anderson, KPA-CTP, Paws & Effect's lead dog trainer.  With more than a decade of experience as an equestrienne, Ashley brings forward an understanding of the ways in which horses and dogs benefit from their relationships with their caretakers—and us from them.  More often than not, Ashley is chosen by a myriad of animals, each being escorted to their next loving home.

AUG. 6, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. Barnes & Noble Shoppes At Three Fountains 4550 University Avenue West Des Moines, IA 50266

If sold out on the shelves, the book may be ordered via the store, or via the Barnes & Noble website here.

******

In Western North Carolina, the book club session will be moderated by Susan Knapp, the founder and executive director of Heart of Horse Sense. Located on 110 acres in Marshall, North Carolina, Heart of Horse Sense is the charitable component of Horse Sense of the Carolinas, an internationally recognized leader in the field of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning (EAPL). Susan brings a longstanding commitment for experiential learning which fosters life skills and character development. Heart of Horse Sense extends EAPL opportunities to children and veterans at no cost.

DATE & TIME TO BE ANNOUNCED Horse Sense of the Carolinas, Inc. 6919 Meadows Town Road Marshall, North Carolina 28753

Paws & Effect to Help Find 'Dog for Devyn'

Hannah and Devyn Central Iowa-based non-profit Paws & Effect has been selected by the family of Devyn Pereira, 9, of suburban Rochester, N.Y., to assist in the selection, training, and validation of a replacement service dog. Devyn was born with Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that results in developmental delays, seizures, and autism. Devyn's current service dog allows her to walk unassisted by others; protects her from "eloping" or wandering away from the classroom; and alerts her teachers to pending seizures.

Since September 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division has engaged in litigation against the Gates-Chili Central School District, Monroe County, N.Y. for denying Devyn's right to a service dog at school without hiring a handler other than Devyn herself. In August 2017, the schools' motion for summary judgement was dismissed, and the case continues in U.S. District Court.

According to court documents, the family has paid more than $25,000 for a dedicated adult dog handler since 2011. The adult handler spends about 15 minutes out of each school day working. Previously, teachers and school staff would tether or untether Devyn from her service dog, as needed. Devyn is attended by a dedicated, one-on-one teacher's aide, who is a school employee. The dog is trained to not require food, water, or bathroom breaks during the school day.

Nicole Shumate, executive director for Paws & Effect, said the organization will help identify a service dog to help replace Devyn's current one, a 110-pound Bouvier des Flandres named Hannah. The hypoallergenic breed was selected because of Devyn's asthma and allergies. The puppy will be identified and trained via the organization's ongoing training program relationship with Missouri Puppies for Parole.

"We are excited to become part of Devyn's team! Following Devyn's journey over several years, watching her blossom into a wonderful young lady, has been inspiring," says Shumate. "Paws & Effect intends to support the Pereira Family as they continue to navigate through the myriad of challenges in front of them, joining an effort that we feel very strongly about."

A 2009 graduate of the Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, Shumate herself was involved as plaintiff in a case regarding service dog access that reached the Iowa Supreme Court in 2014. The case of Shumate v. Drake University regarded the rights of a handler-trainer of a service-dog-in-training to access public buildings under state law.

In an announcement made earlier this month via social media, Devyn's mother Heather said, "When we first researched a service dog for Devyn, we only had a basic idea about the process or even the laws that applied. Now years later, we really appreciate how important it is to work with an agency that is forward thinking when it comes to service dog access and regulation of the industry. In many ways, Devyn has become the face of service dogs in schools, which has given us the opportunity to talk to a lot of different agencies. We have to be picky—Devyn’s first service dog exceeded our expectations and there is some pressure; the next pup has big shoes to fill."

Fund-raising toward Devyn's next service dog began with a Feb. 9 event in Rochester, N.Y. The family hopes to raise up to $15,000 toward the cost of acquiring, training, and equipping a replacement for the retiring Hannah.

A "Dog for Devyn" Facebook page is here.

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, 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 group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners. Its Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America

Book Club May 21: 'The Empathy Exams'

empathy examsThe next Paws & Effect Book Club selection is a collection of non-fiction essays "The Empathy Exams" by Leslie Jamieson. Winner of a Greywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, the collection explores empathy in an age full of media, technology, poverty, and violence. An editorial review of the book states:

Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison's visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another's pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed?

"At its heart, everything that Paws & Effect does—through its volunteers, its service animals, Pet Partners, and other programs—relates to improving how we relate to each other," says Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "This book is a natural fit for engaging in that conversation."

The book club discussion will take place starting 6:30 p.m., Sun., May 21, at Barnes & Noble, Shoppes At Three Fountains 4550 University Ave, West Des Moines, Iowa.

The book is available at Barnes & Noble, and via the company website here.

Join Us for 'One Heart, Four Paws' 2017!

The 2017 "One Heart,Four Paws" event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m., Sun., February 12 at the Blank Park Zoo, 7401 S.W. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa. The event will includepuppy-paintings a silent auction, a book corner, a tricks performance, and more. "We work hard with our handlers, partners, volunteers, and animals to improve lives in our community, but every so often, it's good to have a party," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nichole Shumate. "'One Heart, Four Paws' is our celebration of the human-animal bond, which, appropriately enough, takes place annually around Valentine's Day!"

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, 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 group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners. Its Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as , as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

Persons wishing to attend "One Heart, Four Paws" event can R.S.V.P. via e-mail nicoleshumate AT paws-effect DOT org. There is no charge for the event.

Nov. 6 Book Club: Sebastian Junger's 'Tribe'

tribe-coverThe next Paws & Effect Book Club selection is the non-fiction work "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging" by Sebastian Junger. Junger is the author of such books as "War" (2010) and "The Perfect Storm" (1997), as well as co-director of the documentaries "Restrepo" (2010), "Korengal" (2014), and "The Last Patrol" (2014).

"We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding—'tribes,'" marketing materials for the book read. "This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival."

The book club discussion will take place starting 6:30 p.m., Sun., Nov. 6, at Barnes & Noble, Shoppes At Three Fountains 4550 University Ave, West Des Moines, Iowa.

The book is available at Barnes & Noble, and via the company website here.

We are Charity Partner to 8 'Hero Dog' Nominees!

hero-dog-awardsPaws & Effect is the proud charity partner of eight therapy dogs nominated as finalists in the 2016 Hero Dog Awards, conducted annually by the American Humane Association. Therapy dogs are socialized and trained to provide assistance to more than just one person. As a charity partner, the Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit will be awarded up to $2,500 if any of these dogs achieves the highest number of on-line votes in their category.

Voting ends 12 noon Pacific Time April 27, 2016. You can see the entire ballot and vote here. You can vote in each category once per day. In last year's contest, more than 1.5 million on-line votes were cast by the public.

Paws & Effect also has a connection to Hunter, a 2016 Hero Dog nominee in the service dog category. Service dogs are trained to perform tasks for specific individuals, in order to mitigate diagnosed physical and/or mental conditions.

Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. Paws & Effect also hosts Pet Partner training courses and evaluations, supporting therapy teams throughout the state of Iowa. Paws & Effect is widely known for its dog agility programs, where children may complete their physical, occupational, and speech therapy while taking a therapy dog through an agility course.

Paws & Effect is charity partner for the following therapy dog nominees, presented here in ballot order:

  • Sam, a 7-year-old Labrador mix from Saluda, N.C., who visits veterans, retirement facilities, hospitals, hospice centers, schools and libraries four to five times a week
  • Tulip, a rescued American Pit Bull Terrier from Raleigh, N.C., whose favorite place is a special-needs school, where many children have autism, Down syndrome, or have had traumatic experiences. Tulip visits for their reading program and to help give them comfort and support.
  • Ellie Belly Sugar Jelly, a certified therapy animal from Belleville, Mich., who visits hospitals, senior centers and libraries.
  • Jeanie, a three-legged rescue from Lake Charles, La., who visits hospitals, nursing homes, reading programs, and veteran’s homes, where "she is a hit with fellow amputees." She also comforts children at an advocacy center, as they are questioned by investigators in abuse cases.
  • Skooter, a Labrador/shepherd mix from Livermore, Calif., who got his accidental start as a therapy dog when providing assistance to an ailing marathon runner. He now has more than 100 volunteer hours working with veterans, senior citizens, and children.
  • Karma, a rescued Great Pyrenees who was originally trained in prison to guard an equine therapy herd. Instead, the dog from Webster Groves, Mo. demonstrated an ability to connect with troubled adolescents.
  • Jake, a 12-year-old dog from Yukon, Okla. who works to provide comfort to those who are physically or emotionally distressed, including people in hospital or mass trauma sites. "As a senior dog, Jake’s calm and patient demeanor with patients is so amazing to watch," his nomination reads.
  • Sky, a fluffy Husky rescue from Hollywood, Md., who works with veterans and hospice patients, who has brought voice and howls of laughter to those he has visited.

Reminder: Voting ends 12 noon Pacific Time April 27, 2016. You can see the entire ballot and vote here. You can vote in each category once per day.

Winning 'One Heart, Four Paws' Haiku Announced

At its February 2016 "One Heart, Four Paws" event, Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect announced the winners of the haiku contest celebrating the connections among animals and humans. The event was held at the Blank Park Zoo, 7401 S.W. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa., and featured the book launch for Missouri author Heddie Wittlin-Leger's "Hero to the Rescue.". For more information about the "Hero to the Rescue" book launch, click here.

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, 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 group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and regularly hosts NADAC-sanctioned dog-agility events for fun and fund-raising. Its Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

"We were very pleased with how much emotion and even humor people were able to communicate in just a few, carefully selected words," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "The poems selected for recognition convey just how interconnected we all are."

Poems were selected by journalist-turned-poet Randy Brown, author of "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire."

Winners of the 2016 haiku contest were:

Neil Ruddy, Carlisle, Iowa First place

1. Dog either sits and won’t move, or pulls like she's in the Iditarod.

2. As we walk through the brown trees, the dog's leash scrapes off and scatters their seeds.

3. Be mindful of pets, for they will forever be mindful of you, too.

4. Your pet's job is to bear witness; to love you just for being alive.

5. If you want to have the best seat in the house, you'll have to move the cat.

Sydney Devine, Des Moines, Iowa Second place

1. Chirping birds outside. Little lion through the glass. Together, watching.

2. Big green eyes looking. Fluffy black fur, gentle paw. Curious, my friend.

3. Footprints in the snow, a companion in the cold. In moonlight, we go.

Angie & Chelsea Sloan, Corydon, Iowa Honorable mention

These dogs fill my heart: Casha, Draco, and Ollie weather storms with me.

Winning poems were assembled into a 9-page booklet designed and produced by Eric Shumate, and were distributed at the event. Awardees will receive copies by postal mail. Remaining copies are available for $5 each. Request via e-mail Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate: nicoleshumate@paws-effect.org

Writing Contest Seeks Haiku About Human-Animal Bonds

Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect, in conjunction with publishers Middle West Press LLC, is conducting a Second Annual writing and art contest celebrating bonds among humans and animals. Winners and finalists will be selected in youth (up to age 16) and adult categories. Deadline is Sat., Jan. 9, 2016. There is no entry fee.

Finalists will be recognized with a special print publication of their work, which will be presented at Paws & Effect's annual "One Heart, Four Paws" Valentine's Day reception.

"We chose the haiku because of the form's familiarity and accessibility, whether you're a grade-schooler or graduate student," says Middle West Press editor Randy Brown. "We also want people to focus on moments, interactions with animals in the home, in nature, and at work."

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, 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 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.

"Through our training and just-for-fun activities, community outreach projects, book club meetings, and even writing and art contests, we are always looking for ways to engage each other in conversations—about how we relate to animals, and how we relate to each other in society,
says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate."

Only one submission per entrant. Send up to five (5) haiku in a single word-processing file via Submittable, or by postal mail to:

Paws & Effect haiku contest
c/o Middle West Press
P.O. Box 31099
Johnston, Iowa 50131-9428

All hardcopy entries become the property of Paws & Effect and will not be returned.

Entrants aged 15 and younger may choose to submit short poetry that varies from the haiku form, and/or visual artwork.

For the purposes of the contest, a haiku poem will:

  • Consist of three lines; each respectively comprising 5, 7, and 5 syllables each, for a total of 17.
  • Ideally incorporate a reference to one of the four seasons, or to nature.

Entries will be judged on factors such as: originality, creativity, humor, and adherence to the specified haiku format.

Pet-friendly 'El Dia de Los Muertos' 12-3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 24

A pet-friendly celebration of El Dia de Los Muertos ("The Day of the Dead") will be hosted by Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale, Iowa, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 24. El Dia de Las Meurtos is a traditional holiday that originates in Mexico, during which family and friends gather to remember and celebrate their ancestors and other loved ones. It is usually observed close to Halloween.

"We share our lives with pets and people," says Nicole Shumate, executive director of Paws & Effect.  "Paws & Effect wants to create an opportunity to join together as a community, remembering and cherishing all those whose lives have touched ours."

A procession and blessing of the animals will take place at 1:30 p.m. A photographer will be on hand to take "family" photos for a free-will donation. Costumes are encouraged!

Live music will be provided. Food, beer, T-shirts, and other wares will be available for sale during the event. Cost for the event is $15, which includes one beer ticket and one pint glass.

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 storefrontalso serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

Pet-friendly 'El Dia de Los Muertos' 12-3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 24

A pet-friendly celebration of El Dia de Los Muertos ("The Day of the Dead") will be hosted by Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale, Iowa, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 24.

El Dia de Las Meurtos is a traditional holiday that originates in Mexico, during which family and friends gather to remember and celebrate their ancestors and other loved ones. It is usually observed close to Halloween.

"We share our lives with pets and people," says Nicole Shumate, executive director of Paws & Effect.  "Paws & Effect wants to create an opportunity to join together as a community, remembering and cherishing all those whose lives have touched ours."

A procession and blessing of the animals will take place at 1:30 p.m. A photographer will be on hand to take "family" photos for a free-will donation. Costumes are encouraged!

Live music will be provided. Food, beer, T-shirts, and other wares will be available for sale during the event. Cost for the event is $15, which includes one beer ticket and one pint glass.

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.

Iowa-trained Service Dog Safe Following Shooting Incident

Wade Baker with service dog Honor, March 2012. PHOTO: © Paws & Effect


On Wed., Aug. 19, 2015 Paws & Effect was notified by canine I.D. chip-tracking vendor HomeAgain that its 6-year-old service dog, a black Labrador named "Honor," was recovered by law enforcement authorities in North Carolina. The dog is safe and healthy.

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.

According to law enforcement and media reports, Wade Allen Baker, 44, formerly of Marshalltown, Iowa, was involved in a Waynesville, N.C. church shooting incident that occurred on Wed., Aug. 19, 2015. Baker reportedly died during this incident.

Paws & Effect placed service dog "Honor" with Baker in March 2012, after he was referred by a treating physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Iowa City, Iowa. He attended an intensive 2-week dog handler training course in March 2012, and, like all Paws & Effect handlers, had regular follow-up communication with Paws & Effect regarding dog training and handling. While still located in Iowa, he occasionally assisted with Paws & Effect's efforts to educate the public regarding service dog use and access.

According to Baker's service record, he served in the U.S. Army from approximately August 1989 to November 1998. His Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was mechanized infantryman, and he received an honorable discharge. His military awards include the following, as well as others:

  • Army Commendation Award (2nd award)
  • Army Achievement Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Service Award
  • Good Conduct Medal (3rd award)
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Star
  • Armed Forces Service Medal
  • Overseas Service Ribbon
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)

Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate, along with the non-profit's board of directors, worked with North Carolina agencies to ensure safe return of Honor to the Baker family. "The loss of life of this veteran is tragic and devastating for his family. We are thankful that there was reportedly no further injury or loss of life to law enforcement and the public. Service dog Honor has been returned to the family to continue in his roles of stress reducer, supporter, and loved family member."

Book Club Selection Speaks to Paws & Effect Mission

The Paws & Effect Book Club selection for September 2015 is "Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process" by Irene Pepperberg.

Pepperberg, a scientist who studies animal cognition, tells the story of Alex—short for "Avian Learning Experiment"—an African Grey parrot who mastered a vocabulary of more than 100 words, and was able to answer questions about colors, shapes, and objects.

In her research, Pepperberg indicated that Alex's language abilities were comparable to those of dolphins and great apes. In the book, she also tells of other avian examples of intelligence and understanding.

"Paws & Effect is deeply committed to celebrating and contributing to research about the human-animal bond, and the roles that animals can play in our lives," says Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "That's why our book club uses titles like 'Alex & Me' as foundations for discussion. That's why we're partnering with brain researchers at Des Moines University. And that's why our latest litter of future service dogs is named to honor individuals such as co-founder of Pet Partners Leo Bustad; primatologist Jane Goodall; and animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin. In addition to 'Leo,' 'Goodall,' and 'Grandin,' we have our own 'Alex'!"

The book club discussion will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 17, 2015 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 is also available available on Kindle format.

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:

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.

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!

'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.

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!