paws4people introduces Cooki and discusses the foundation’s mission

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) — Cooki, a 5-month-old puppy in training, came to the studio with paws4people ahead of WECT’s Get Fit with 6 Race and Festival. The event, scheduled to take place on October 22nd, will benefit paws4people.

paws4people is a local organization that provides assistance dogs to people in need across the country. According to its website, the nonprofit has trained over 1,200 dogs to help in areas such as mental health care, mobility and crisis response.

“All of our dogs go through the same three training programs,” said Kaitlin Bellamy, Executive Administration Director. “So, our puppy development here in Wilmington based on our facility at Castle Hayne. They then move on to our paws4prisons program in West Virginia, where they are trained by prisoner trainers up in West Virginia. Then they come back to Wilmington for the third part of their training, and they are actually being trained by UNCW students. We have a smaller service dog training program at UNCW.”

According to their website, paws4people are currently focused on providing dogs for:

  • Children and young people with physical, neurological, psychiatric and/or emotional disabilities
  • Veterans and military personnel with chronic/complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sex trauma, and/or moral injury

“They choose their careers, they choose their clients,” said Sara Harts, director of the puppy development center. “We’re not going to force them to do a job they don’t want to do. So it’s entirely up to them, their choice.”

The Get Fit with 6 Race and Festival takes place at Waterline Brewing at 721 Surry St. in Wilmington. Registration begins October 22nd at 8:30 am. For more information about the event, visit the Get Fit with 6 website.

About Clayton Arredondo

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