One Heart Four Paws

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.

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.

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.

Our Annual 'One Heart, Four Paws' Celebration is Feb. 13!

Join us in celebrating the many accomplishments of our animals, raisers, recipients, Pet Partners, and supporters at our annual "One Heart, Four Paws" event, 6-8 p.m., Fri., Feb. 13 at the new reception space at Flying Mango Restaurant and Catering, 4345 Hickman Road, Des Moines, Iowa. The space is located just west of the restaurant. Parking is also available at 4401 Hickman Road.

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. We also register therapy animals through Pet Partners, and host dog-agility events.

"As we build toward our 10th anniversary next year, it's a great time to reflect on everything our volunteers and animals do to help enrich the lives of others," says Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "Valentine's Day is a perfect time to celebrate 'One Heart, Four Paws.'"

The program includes a display and results from the first-ever "One Heart, Four Paws" writing and arts contest, and showing new Public Service Announcements currently being televised on regional media outlets.

The menu will feature heavy hors d'oeuvres, created by the renowned chefs at Flying Mango. Notably, Flying Mango is scheduled to be featured on the Food Network's "Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" on Jan. 16. A Facebook page for the restaurant is here.

Tickets for the event are $50. For more information or tickets, contact Executive Director Nicole Shumate at: nicoleshumate AT paws-effect.org.

Writing Contest Seeks Stories, Poetry About Animals

Paws & Effect is in the second month of soliciting stories and art about our relationships with animals!

The nationwide arts and writing contest will be the centerpiece of our annual "One Heart, Four Paws" Valentine's Day celebration of the connections among humans and animals. We're looking for short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art in youth, military servicemember/veteran, and general public categories. There is a $100 monetary award in each category/subcategory. Deadline is Jan. 5, 2015.

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. We also register therapy animals through Pet Partners, and host dog-agility events.

Editors are seeking previously unpublished flash-fiction, non-fiction, and poetry on the themes illustrating human-animal connections.

Winners selected in each of the following categories:

  • Youth (Ages 6-12)
  • Open—Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry
  • Military service member/veteran—Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry

Winners in each category/subcategory will receive:

  • Recognition at the Feb. 13, 2015 "One Heart, Four Paws" gala event.
  • A monetary award of $100.
  • Publication of their work(s) in a commemorative broadsheet, chapbook, or other physical object, to be distributed at the event.

All submitted works will also be considered for inclusion in a commemorative anthology, to be published later in 2015.

There is no submission fee for the Youth category. Youth submissions should be made via postal mail, using this downloadable form, or on-line here at Submittable.com. All hardcopy entries become the property of Paws & Effect and will not be returned. Send entries to:

"One Heart, Four Paws" Youth Contest
c/o Middle West Press
P.O. Box 31099
Johnston, Iowa 50131-9428

Guidelines for Open and Military/Veteran categories include:

  • Limit one submission in each category per person.
  • Poetry: up to 3 poems (5 pages maximum).
  • All prose (including fiction, non-fiction, essay, and memoir): 750-word limit.
  • Submissions exceeding the limits will be disqualified.
  • Include a biography of 75 words or less with each submission. Past and present members of all branches, services, and nationalities may submit to the Military/Veteran category.
  • Winners and contributors will be notified by Feb. 1, 2015.
  • This project acquires first North American and anthology rights.
  • Judges' decisions are final. Judges also reserve the rights to make additional awards in each category/subcategory, and to decline making awards within one or more categories/subcategories.

Contest Seeks Art, Writing about Human-Animal Bonds

As part of its annual "One Heart, Four Paws" Valentine's Day celebration of the connections among humans and animals, Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect is conducting its first-ever writing contest for youth, adult, and military writers. Deadline is Jan. 5, 2015.

Established in 2006, the Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit 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 trains therapy animals and hosts dog-agility events.

Editors are seeking previously unpublished flash-fiction, non-fiction, and poetry on the theme of human-animal connections.

Winners selected in each of the following categories:

  • Youth (Ages 6-12)
  • Open—Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry
  • Military service member/veteran—Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry

Winners in each category/subcategory will receive:

  • Recognition at the Feb. 13, 2015 "One Heart, Four Paws" gala event.
  • A monetary award of $100.
  • Publication of their work(s) in a commemorative broadsheet, chapbook, or other physical object, to be distributed at the event.

All submitted works will also be considered for inclusion in a commemorative anthology, to be published later in 2015.

There is no submission fee for the Youth category. Youth submissions should be made via postal mail, using this downloadable form, or on-line here at Submittable.com. All hardcopy entries become the property of Paws & Effect and will not be returned. Send entries to:

"One Heart, Four Paws" Youth Contest
c/o Middle West Press
P.O. Box 31099
Johnston, Iowa 50131-9428

Guidelines for Open and Military/Veteran categories include:

  • Limit one submission in each category per person.
  • Poetry: up to 3 poems (5 pages maximum).
  • All prose (including fiction, non-fiction, essay, and memoir): 750-word limit.
  • Submissions exceeding the limits will be disqualified.
  • Include a biography of 75 words or less with each submission. Past and present members of all branches, services, and nationalities may submit to the Military/Veteran category.
  • Winners and contributors will be notified by Feb. 1, 2015.
  • This project acquires first North American and anthology rights.
  • Judges' decisions are final. Judges also reserve the rights to make additional awards in each category/subcategory, and to decline making awards within one or more categories/subcategories.