Service dogs are helping people in need

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A mom, daughter and best friend packed up their bags about ten years ago, moved to Peoria, and started training dogs. They have helped hundreds of people ever since.

Paws Giving Independence takes rescue dogs and trains them to become service dogs for people with disabilities. Some of the dogs also serve at schools. Here is how it works: dogs train for two years with a foster family before being placed with an individual.

“And we specifically train to the needs of the recipient. So they come in and get 25 hours of training in with us before getting a dog. So we can be sure that we have the right match of dog and handler,” said Founder of Paws Giving Independence, Donna Kosner.

Those who train them are every day people, like Bradley student, Vanessa Aguirre.

“Once you meet the recipient and you see the kind of need that that person needs, it makes it a lot easier to give the dog up,” said Aguirre.

Kosner said women at Logan Correctional Center train dogs too.

“They train every day. That’s their job and it’s part of a work program. So when they get out of the prison, hopefully they can find a job in the animal-care industry. For those who will be in there long-term, it’s something that makes them feel like they are making a difference, and doing something for others,” stated Kosner.

Around 20 dogs are trained at a time, learning specific tasks.

Comets’ future owner is in a wheelchair and will need help with everything.

“And we see the difference these dogs make for them. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what makes it worth it,” stated Kosner.

If you are interested in being a foster parent or want to know if you qualify, check out their website:



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