The Big Paws Canine ProcessWe are Operated Entirely by Non-paid Volunteers
Everyone involved with Big Paws Canine is a Veteran or First Responder, or connected to one in some way. We are operated entirely by non-paid Volunteers. No one takes a salary. The Founder, Steve Slavik, is a Marine and former Police Officer injured in both lines of duty. Big Paws Canine was created to assist those needing the help that so many organizations were taking advantage of.
Big Paws Canine provides Service Dogs for only $1.00 and trains for the life of the dog for only $1.00 per month. Our Veterans and First Responders have already written a blank check, backed with their own lives, to defend and protect our country and ourselves and our freedoms. We obtain our funding through private donations, corporate sponsorships and grants. We do not require our Heroes to come up with almost $25,000 per dog like some other organizations.
As of 2020, we have over 250 Service Dogs in action with their Veterans or First Responders across the country. With headquarters in the Myrtle Beach SC area, we have facilities in Sioux Falls SD and in Southern California (easily accessible from Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties).
In order for Big Paws Canine to provide a pup or to have your own dog trained, the first step in the process is completing an application on-line. This helps us to understand about you and your disability. It also helps us understand what tasks a dog is going to need to perform. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Service Dogs are individually trained to do work or perform tasks to assist a person with a disability in their daily life. It is these tasks that allow a Service Dog to accompany an individual almost anywhere. Unlike a Therapy Dog or Companion Dog that are trained for emotional support and comfort, Service Dogs are highly trained, highly focused, well behaved animals that assist an individual no different than a wheel chair, cane or hearing aid.
The month following the submission of an application, one of our Volunteers will review your information and contact you. They will review the application, answer any questions and provide some more detailed information about Big Paws Canine and our mission. It is during this time that you learn what we are all about.
The application will then be reviewed by the Local Board and we will review the next steps with you. If we can help, know that you will be required to attend weekly training sessions, events and fundraisers to help bond with your dog and learn more about Big Paws Canine. In turn, we will learn more about you and your lifestyle in order to customize the training of your dog to your disability and your needs. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, but you will only get out of it what you put into it. Your involvement, participation and homework are key to your success.