Foster and Volunteer Spotlight
The Danilewitz Family
We started fostering with Paws and Affection in Sept 2019 when Lou the lab came into our lives. We fell in love with him immediately – he was like a little black velvet fluff ball at just 8 weeks old! One of our favorite things about fostering was working with the trainers at P&A to teach Lou his manners and cool tricks. I loved how P&A involved my kids in teaching Lou as well – we were all invested in helping Lou become the best service dog he could be!
Something funny about Lou was that he loved to sniff out anything and everything that was remotely edible. When we took him for walks he loved to find and eat fallen mulberries, banana peels, tree bark like a potato chip snack, and even once a dead squirrel! One time during his early rebellious teen years, he managed to eat a half a pan of brownies that he grabbed off the counter top.Thankfully, it didn’t make him sick!
During our time fostering P&A taught us that when a dog feels threatened by another dog (even a small one!) the dog will get down on his belly to make himself look small so the other dog would leave him alone. It’s funny to see a big dog like Lou down on his belly in front of a very tiny dog.
The Antal Family
We’ve been involved with P&A as fosters for 3 years now. We’d never had a dog, but always wanted one, so fostering allowed us to experience the life of having a dog. We get to train, cuddle, and love them for 2 years until they find their partner in crime and it’s an incredible feeling to see them succeed.
What have we learned? One word – PATIENCE! Taking a breath and slowing things down for your dog can be key to getting them to understand what you are trying to teach them. Sometimes it’s that pause that gets them back on track and you feeling less frustrated.
Lou is a funny dog and one thing he does that cracks me up is he nudges your legs if you’re standing with them together. He is persistent and keeps at it until you create a little space where he can fit through. He stays there until he gets some love or just hangs there until you move.
Julie and Michelle
Julie has been volunteering for almost 2 years and her favorite thing about spending time with our team is watching them grow into incredible service dogs.
Her all time favorite P&A dog is Lou because he’s so serious. She says, “Oh, those eyes… I love his happy trot when we are in the yard and I chase him with his favorite blue ball.”
Julie has a dog and cat of her own and her dog is the love of her life. She says he’s always jealous when she comes home smelling of the P&A pups.
During Julie’s time with us, she’s learned how trainable every dog is and understands the patience it takes to work with them.
We asked her for her funniest volunteering story and she shared that “when Lily was a small pup I had to chase her away from eating her poop in the yard, it was quite a scene.”
Michelle has been volunteering with Julie since 2018 and the two of them have formed a friendship thanks to their time with us. Michelle went on maternity leave and Julie made sure to send her pics of the dogs to keep her connected.
Michelle’s favorite thing about volunteering is that no matter the day or the weather all the puppy kisses make it worth it!
Her favorite P&A dog of all time is Winni, but she has two dogs of her own, Harper and Paisley Ann. Harper is a lab/husky mix with a shiny black coat and crystal blue eyes and she’s a Certified Therapy Dog with Paws for People. Paisley Ann is a Chiweenie and is the queen of naps and waking up the neighbors.
During her time volunteering at P&A, Michelle has learned valuable training tips and how service dogs can help people in the community in different ways.
Michelle and her husband Seth took volunteering to a new level when they flew to Georgia during COVID to bring home Lily and Daisy. Her favorite memory was on the plane when she and Seth were sleeping and the girls were wide awake on their laps.
Jill and Anne
Jill and Anne have been volunteering with Paws and Affection since the beginning. They were here with our first four dogs and have been dedicated Wednesday morning volunteers since 2016.
We asked these lovely ladies who their favorite P&A dog was and they struggled to answer. Jill said, “Every dog worms their way into my heart and I’m sad to see them go, but I’m so happy to feel like I had a small part in making it happen. My heart broke a little when I learned Winni was matched, but she’ll be a gift in their life!”
Anne told us, “Kelly. Her soul is so warm and gentle and she just stole my heart — she just seems to embody the whole ethos of P&A. It was hard to say goodbye, but I love seeing her work pics on Instagram. Winni is right up there with Kelly. And Lou”.
Both Anne and Jill have dogs of their own and we loved learning about them. Jill told us she currently has two 10-year old dogs, Marley and Rooney. “Marley is a sedate ladylike Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu mix and Rooney is a wacko Poodle mix with a personality similar to Verdell, the Jack Russel from As Good As It Gets.”
Anne also has two rescue dogs, Ricky and Mack. “Ricky, a 12 pound 8-year old terrier guard dog and Mack, a 28 pound blind cockapoo lap dog, balance each other. Mack had trouble navigating through the snow this winter and walked alongside Ricky for guidance. Ricky was slightly annoyed by the closeness, but knew he had a job to do.”
Anne also told us her favorite part about volunteering is “seeing the dogs run and frolic with unbridled joy in the yard, and then, suddenly, they remember we’re there too, and rush over for some love and belly rubs. For me, volunteering is a form of gratitude that lifts me up in so many ways. I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute in some small way to a wonderful and important mission, play with and care for truly special dogs, and spend time with my best friend of 22 years.”