a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) Organization
Our mission is to improve the lives of Veterans and First Responders with PTSD, through the use of highly trained service dogs, while providing compassionate education to assist in their recovery
Four Paws To Freedom arises from the experience of a small group of military veterans with PTSD who have gained personal freedom through the company of a trained service dog. All the founders worked with the same talented person who has trained service dogs for people who find that PTSD inhibits their ability to live productively. That trainer, Terry Sandhoff, has helped dozens of military veterans, first responders, and victims of childhood or other abuse. They have been able to end their self-imposed isolation and gain the courage to face scary situations - because they are accompanied by a trusted and well-trained service dog who 'has their back.'
· I will be kind to, and respect everyone including myself.
· I will work on appropriate boundaries for myself and respect those of others.
· I will work hard knowing that I will get out of this training only what I put into it.
· I will work to build healthy relationships with others even when it is difficult.
· I will practice good listening skills.
· I understand that I am accountable for all my actions.
· I will be thankful for what I have.
· I will practice not judging myself harshly.
· I will practice using appropriate communication skills.
· I will give back by using my talents for good works in my community, as I am able.
4 Paws 2 Freedom encompasses people of all races and creeds. We are both united and strengthened by our differences. We are inclusive of all and stand firmly against racism and discrimination whether on the basis of age, class, cultural beliefs, disability, gender, race, religion sexual orientation or any other discriminating factor.
4 Paws 2 Freedom is committed to ensuring our diverse, inclusive and equitable culture is built on a strong sense of belonging, where everyone feels seen, heard and encouraged to show up as their authentic self.
Forty-five years ago I started my dog training career. For two years I apprenticed with a local dog trainer in Southern California where I discovered the joy and reward of training a well mannered companion dog.
I spent 10 years volunteering and fostering dogs at Placer SPCA. During that time I fostered well over 150 dogs, choosing the ones that were least likely to find homes and working with them one on one to modify behavior and give them a better chance of adoption.
I worked there for 3 years as the Behavior Specialist and started the Behavior Program.
In 2004 I started a Behavior Helpline and training center, St. Francis PET, as a ministry at St Francis Church in Fair Oaks. Within 2 years we had expanded to training service dogs for veterans and created 4 Paws 4 Vets.
I took a leave from training while I battled and overcame Bladder Cancer.
In 2014 I met with people who I had worked with previously and we started 4 Paws 2 Freedom as it's own non-profit.
When I am not working (who am I kidding, I am always working) I love to garden, read and walk in the forest.
A Founding Board Member and previous Chair of the Board. I have witnessed the power of Service Dogs in the lives of those close to me. The dramatic changes in their ability to do things and to participate in life is incredible.
As a former Army Medic, our Creed is “So others may live.” Which is a very personal statement to me and why I am dedicated to 4 Paws 2 Freedom. Assisting my sisters and brothers who have walked that walk, who wrote that blank check to our country recover from the invisible wounds of service.
A a former First Responder the same desire applies. To dedicate one's life to the service of others takes its toll. We see things that never should be seen, and those images stay with us for our lifetime.
I always tell my fellow Veterans and First Responders, ‘If we don’t take care of each other, who will???”
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