For 40 years, Paws With A Cause® has been enhancing the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS® also increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education and advocacy.

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PAWS is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. During this time, they have placed nearly 3,000 custom-trained Assistance Dogs throughout the country. Utilizing their network of field representatives, PAWS provides ongoing support for our client-dog teams. Close to 500 families in the West Michigan area are PAWS Dog Volunteers who raise our foster puppies and/or host a mama or papa dog from our elite breeding stock. Additionally, non-dog volunteers support our mission by volunteering as community presenters or special event support.

In 1979, Mike and Candye Sapp founded Paws With A Cause, initially named Ears for the Deaf®. PAWS® began when Mike agreed to help friends who are both deaf and had just adopted a young deaf child. Their hope was that Mike could train their Cairn Terrier CRYSTAL to alert them to important sounds such as their baby crying. Mike agreed and soon other deaf and hard of hearing people approached Mike and asked if they could have dogs trained as well. Through the years, PAWS has added additional Assistance Dog programs. What started out as helping a friend has grown into a national organization that has impacted the lives of thousands of people.

PAWS trains several types of Assistance Dogs:

•           Service Dogs for people with physical disabilities

•           Hearing Dogs for people who are hearing impaired/deaf

•           Seizure Response Dogs for people with seizure disorders

•           Service Dogs for Children with Autism

As a nonprofit, PAWS relies upon the generous support of individual donors, family and community foundations, and corporate gifts. Clients do not pay any fee to apply for or receive their PAWS Assistance Dog. The cost to breed, raise, custom-train and support each PAWS dog placed is approximately $30K, all underwritten by our generous community partners.

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