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CANTON, GA – Service dogs provide essential help to individuals with disabilities and trauma survivors. Unfortunately, these life saving animals are not easily obtainable and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Thankfully, one nonprofit is working to give service dogs to people in need.
Steadfast Service Dogs is a nonprofit that trains and donates service dogs to a variety of disabled recipients.
The 501c3 is run by the husband and wife duo, Andre and Gwen Sadowski, who have devoted their lives to raising and training service dogs with the hope of helping trauma survivors and people with disabilities.
For the last few months, we have been operating as a “pending non profit”. This morning, we found out that our IRS…
According to the Steadfast Service Dog website, recipients have included Veterans with PTSD, retired and/or injured law enforcement with PTSD, diabetic alert, psychiatric issues, and survivors of extreme violence and trauma.
The website later details the extent of care and planning that goes into producing a Steadfast service dog:
“We purpose breed specifically for service dog placement. We start with base dogs deliberately picked for their temperament, structure, and health testing to ensure a phenomenal service dog candidate.
“We produce dogs that are calm and confident enough to ignore distraction and excel at public access. Dogs that are extremely handler focused and very easy to train, thereby cutting down training time and extending the time that they can provide service.”
In an exclusive interview with Law Enforcement Today, Andre spoke about the standards that Steadfast service dogs are held to. The co-founder outlined that their dogs are bred to be “extremely handler focused” and attentive:
“Our dogs have a much lower drive, they’re very mellow, they’re not hyperactive, and they’re extremely handler focused. So, when they bond with somebody, the sun rises and sets with that person.”
Andre later said:
“We’re producing these dogs that are easy to train and that are calm, confident, and mellow, especially in public.”
The co-founder, who has a service dog of his own, also emphasized how important the dogs are to their handlers. Andre claims that the dogs are able to provide something that other forms of therapy can’t:
“Somehow, service dogs are capable of providing something that therapy, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, medication- none of that can provide.”
Due to the level of care and training given to each dog, the cost of producing these service animals is incredibly high. Andre explained that, given the cost of training, feeding, and housing the animal, each service dog costs approximately $20,000.
The co-founder stated:
“Each one of these dogs costs about $20,000, and to put that into perspective, a properly trained service dog is about 1,000 hours of work.”
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Unfortunately, some of the people that are most in need of the life altering animals are unable to afford them. Andre told LET:
“A lot of the populations that we deal with don’t have $20,000 sitting around, they just don’t. You’ve got a wounded cop who’s just barely scraping by and can’t pay his mortgage. You’ve got a teacher, their salary sucks, and they don’t have a lot of money sitting around.”
Andre later stated that these populations are “vastly underserved” by other nonprofits and organizations:
“No one is doing it for cops and victims of extreme violence, nobody. It’s not a population that anyone is paying attention to, so those two populations are vastly underserved.”
To combat the substantial demand for service animals, Steadfast Service Dogs has been training and donating service dogs to the underserved populations.
Two of the most recent donations made by the nonprofit have been to the widow of a fallen officer and to a teacher that survived the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
We are fundraising to pay for service dog training for LT’s widow!
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Steadfast Service Dogs donated Archie, a German Shepherd service dog, to Kimberly Krawczyk, a math teacher at Stoneman Douglas, to help her work through the PTSD and trauma she suffered following the 2018 shooting.
Less than 3 years ago, the deadliest school shooting in America took place at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in…
Andre also stated that, while the school system hasn’t been helpful to the survivors of the shooting, he wants to be stating:
“The kids and the teachers are not getting what they need, not from the school, not from the state, not from anybody. You know, I’ve talked to a bunch of their parents, they care, they’re fully invested in helping their kids, they just don’t know how.
“I happen to have the how, I am capable of producing the thing that can make it better and bring life back to a semblance of normalcy.”
“I can provide that, and that is why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Steadfast Service Dogs has all the expertise and passions needed to make a difference, but they need some help from us. Due to the expense of breeding and training a successful service dog, the nonprofit is currently working to gather funding to further their efforts.
Gwen, a co-founder of Steadfast Service Dogs, explained:
“Right now I feel like we can help 5-10 people a year with service dogs and training, and that’s very important, but I’d like this to be helpful on a larger scale.
“We get emails and messages through Facebook every single day with people who need service dogs, and most of them can’t afford the cost of a service dog and the training because it can be extremely expensive.”
There is nothing quite so rewarding and wonderful as receiving updates from our handlers after a training session has…
The 501c3 has made an incredible difference in the lives of countless individuals. If you would like to support Steadfast Service Dogs, consider donating through their facebook page. Each donation goes directly to raising and training a lifesaving service animal.
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