After an unfortunate sewage disaster late this summer, our friends at PAALS, short for Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services, continue to struggle to reopen their doors and get their facility up and running. PAALS, a local non-profit here in Columbia, helps people of all ages with physical disabilities and social needs by training service animals and providing animal-assisted programs.
The recent news from PAALS is heartbreaking. PAALS spent nine years raising funds to buy and renovate their new building, along with countless hours invested from volunteers to renovate, clean, paint and set up the new facility. After the vision and hard work of so many, PAALS finally opened their doors this past August. Unfortunately, 10 days later, they had to close their doors due to a sewage main break – resulting in several inches of flooding. Their doors remain closed and the service dogs in training are spread out amongst the homes of their volunteers.
We knew at SCVSEC that we had to do our part to help PAALS, their amazing service animals and their valuable programs. We are proud to give a “helping paw” and support their renovation efforts with a donation of $5,000 to assist in their road to recovery.
Although the list could go on and on, we wanted to share with you five reasons why we think PAALS is making a positive impact in our community and why we support their work.
- They are helping individuals in many ways, some of which include assisting children with autism and soldiers with PTSD reach therapeutic and real-life goals.
- They are training dogs with everyday and lifesaving skills – from turning the lights on and off, to opening doors, to alerting for help.
- During the two-year training period, their dogs participate in many programs that reach underserved youth, seniors and individuals with special needs.
- They are the only“Assistance Dogs International” (standardized program) in South Carolina.
- For the last three years, the have spent more than 90% of expenses on program-related costs.