Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs held their annual Santa PAWS event to celebrate the holidays and their four-pawed goldens on November 15 at The Ken & Susan Meyer Center for Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs in Naples.
The annual signature fundraising event began in 2016 and has turned into a favorite for donors and supporters each holiday season. Again, this year, the room was filled with fun, love, passion, and many furry, working paws along with 170 guests.
All who attended were there to support the mission of Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs which was made evident via a special video showcasing the first placement with Col. Ty Edwards and his Golden PAWS Service Dog Cody Bear, and then, the video brought viewers to two current placements, one with Vietnam era veteran Victor Muto and his Golden PAWS Service Dog Shadow, and the second, college student Gabriella with her Golden PAWS Service Dog Bobbi-O. Jeannie Bates, Founder and CEO, shared her journey through each of these placements, bringing Golden PAWS to an incredible milestone, and the best Santa PAWS yet according to Bates.
“Santa PAWS is a great celebration as we remember the heartwarming success stories with our assistance dog placements. We witness how our incredible dogs have brightened the lives of those they have touched and seeing the success of this event just reaffirms our mission to bring light, love, and assistance to those in need,” said Jeannie Bates, Founder and CEO of Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs.
Through the generosity of the 2023 Santa PAWS attendees, 10 new puppies were fully sponsored during the Fund-A-Need portion of the evening led by Board Chair Kyle Reed and auctioneer Shannon Livingston.
Puppies are selected to join the program as cadets and during their two-plus year assistance dog training program, each dog participates in a highly respected Canine Assisted Therapy program, the only program of its kind in SW Florida. To date, Golden PAWS has placed over 140 assistance dogs with those in need whether child, first responder, or Veteran, all dogs are placed at no cost to the recipient.
Besides training assistance dogs, Golden PAWS also has several community programs and places a strong emphasis on giving back. The list of community partners continues to grow and includes Vi at Bentley Village, David Lawrence Center’s Crisis Care Unit, New Beginnings School of Naples, Collier County Libraries and Schools, and The Marbella at Pelican Bay. A team of volunteers along with assistance dogs in training visit these community partners on a regular basis.
Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes independence for combat-wounded veterans, first responders, and children with life-changing disabilities through partnerships with skilled assistance dogs. To learn how you can support Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs’ mission or for more information about the organization, please visit www.GoldenPAWS.org or call 239-775-1660.