Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Donation Benefits Cause with Paws

A North Dakota organization is training service dogs to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other serious medical conditions live fuller, more independent lives. And a Pay It Forward donation is helping the organization train even more dogs.

“Our dogs truly grant people independence that they may not have had for a long time, allowing them to participate more fully in life.” – Marty, Service Dogs for America

Photos courtesy Urban Toad Media

Bell Employee

Karin Hassett, exception item/mail processing manager



Service Dogs for America

The Need

A Jud, N.D., organization is training service dogs to help veterans with PTSD, people who suffer from frequent seizures, assault victims and others. The dogs help people live more fully in the present when they might otherwise regress into past experiences. During a medical emergency, the dogs are trained to get their people help.

There is a fee for a service dog. Because the organization does not want the cost to deter someone from applying, a staff member works with approved clients on funding options. Service Dogs for America considers applications from people across the United States.

The Impact

Knowing how much a service dog helps her friend who struggles with PTSD, Karin started looking for a local service dog trainer when she considered how to use her Pay It Forward funds. That’s when she discovered Service Dogs for America.

She was impressed when she met Rio, a dog that had just completed his PTSD training. Rio knew that when sitting or lying down, he had to always face the opposite direction from his human. He also knew how to alert his human that someone was there, then walk back and forth in front of his human to create a personal “bubble” if someone got too close. Rio could drag his human to the nearest exit if they collapsed during an episode, even pushing automatic door openers along the way.

“Service Dogs for America helps someone experience the amazing benefits of having a service dog by their side after a traumatic event,” Karin remarks. “These dogs make such a difference!”

The donation was used to help train and certify more service dogs.

Back to Giving Stories