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Service dog training program gets huge $25,000 donation covering vet bills for entire year

PEORIA (WEEK) - Paws Giving Independence trains service dogs for children and adults suffering from a variety of special needs and disabilities. They foster and train as many as 25 dogs at a time.

The organization is a non-profit run by all volunteers. They rely heavily on community support. One of their biggest expenses every year is veterinary care for the dogs. Often times service dogs need more medical care such as more extensive vaccines, or x-rays, to name a few than normal dogs would.

Director Donna Kosner was caught by surprise when the CEO of Binny's Beverage Depot called and asked to help. Michael Binstein asked what needs they had for 2021 and then wrote a $25,000 check to cover vet expenses for the year.

"I was kind of taken aback, and was very surprised. On Friday we received our check from Binny's for that amount and it should cover our vet expenses for the year. We are just overjoyed and overwhelmed because it's been a year where fundraising has been so difficult," explained Kosner.

One of the recipients of a service dog shared how important her dog is to her. 20-year-old Abigail Savage moved from Montana to undergo treatment at St. Jude, according to Kosner. "I mean, I have heard of service dogs and facility dogs be like 50 grand trained. So, seriously you guys gave me the biggest gift ever," said Savage.

The enormous gift has taken a weight off the shoulder of PGI for the upcoming year. Just like other small businesses and non-profits, Kosner said COVID has made it difficult to maneuver their organization.

They'll be training a new pup very soon, and Kosner said the plan is to name it 'Binny.'

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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