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Paws for a Good Cause

4 Paws for Ability service dogs enrich and enhance the lives of local kids with disabilities.

Article by Lori Balster

Photography by Kelly Settle—Kelly Ann Photography & Provided

Originally published in Mason & Deerfield Lifestyle

When Kelly Camm discovered 4 Paws for Ability, she fell in love with it immediately. “I couldn’t get 4 Paws out of my mind,” she says. “Now I’ve been development director for 12 years. I love how we change lives in significant ways here.”

Service dogs are born and trained at 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit based in Xenia, Ohio. Dogs are specifically raised and “made to order” for each disabled child, adult or veteran. Mason and Deerfield Township readers may have even heard of 4 Paws before, as some of their service dogs were featured in a Netflix special called Dogs in Season 1, Episode 1.

While the dogs act as companions like ordinary dogs, they do much more. The pups can help mitigate disabilities. 4 Paws has dogs that specialize in 11 disability areas. Some of the most common are autism and seizure dogs. 

“Our service dogs do wonderful things for kids with disabilities. They can stop meltdowns for children or track them if they get lost. The dogs can also medically alert a seizure onset,” explains Kelly.

Mason resident Nicki Paxton, mom to Malia and service dog Google, shares about 4 Paws, “Malia has gained confidence from Google that she didn't have before. 4 Paws did an incredible job selecting and training Google to work specifically for Malia's needs. He can support her with mobility, stability, hearing alerts, and behavior disruptions. He calms her. He is part of our family!”

One of the best ways to help support the life-changing work 4 Paws does is to become a volunteer trainer, which you can do from your home! 4 Paws is in need of more amazing volunteer trainers (VT) for their service dogs in training (SDiT). Some of the 4 Paws volunteer roles include:

  • Puppy Starters are those who take in eight week old puppies until they are fully vaccinated at 16 weeks and can then be paired with full time VTs, then start all over with a new puppy.

  • Full-time VTs are those who are paired with a SDiT of whatever age they prefer or is available, and care for them throughout their journey of becoming a service dog.

  • Weekday/Weekend VTs provide a relaxing break for the dogs who are working with their trainers Monday through Friday in advanced training. 

If you’re looking for additional ways to help 4 Paws for Ability assist people with disabilities, you can donate through their website, They are also holding a Dueling for Dogs fundraising event on August 13. Check Facebook for more information:

To learn more about 4 Paws for Ability, visit or contact Kelly Camm at 859-802-0122.

  • Service dog Google with Malia.
  • Kelly Camm, Development Director, 4 Paws for Ability