Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Behind the Scenes: When Dogs Train to Fly

See the recent KCCI-TV report here.
Today's air travelers know to anticipate such stresses as cramped conditions, long lines, and weather delays. That's why service-animal trainers work with airline and airport personnel to ensure that working dogs are prepped and ready for take-off.

As specified by the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (A.C.A.A.) , service animals may accompany their handlers in airports and on flights. As working animals, service dogs are trained to assist individual handlers with specific physical tasks, in order to mitigate physical or mental conditions. Under the access law, handlers are not charged extra for having their service animals travel with them.

Recently, a group of military veterans working with Paws & Effect, a Central Iowa non-profit that trains mobility and other service animals, were featured in a news report on KCCI-TV, Des Moines. In the report, the veterans and their new dogs are shown successfully negotiating an obstacle course of security baggage checks and boarding procedures.

Personnel from the Des Moines International Airport and Frontier Airlines also assisted in the training event.

Just as in other public settings, fellow travelers can help dog-handlers and animals by knowing about access laws, and not distracting handlers and animals while they are working. Dogs are trained to place themselves under seats, in order to keep aisles and exits clear.

Although there is no such thing as a service-animal "license," Paws & Effect also trains handlers to travel with documents regarding the health and safety of their animals. Information on the state of Iowa's "certificate of veterinary inspection," for example, includes identifying information such as microchip number, and vaccination history.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Register for 2nd Annual 'Service Dog People Jog' 5K!

Thanks to the terrific turnout at 2013's inaugural Service Dog People Jog, we're excited to announce this year's event! Paws & Effect's Service Dog People Jog 5K run and walk is set for Sunday, June 8 at 9 a.m. at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines, Iowa. 

The Youth Dash/Run is set for 10 a.m. (FREE for kids 12 and under).

The Service Dog People Jog (SDPJ) is a 5K walk/run benefiting Paws & Effect, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. P&E raises, trains, and places professionally-trained service dogs with disabled veterans and children. Proceeds not only allow P&E to fulfill their mission, but also help to ensure that recipients receive service dogs free of charge.

Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Paws & Effect and will assist with the care and placement of P&E service dogs to veterans and children with disabilities. The funds raised will also elp to ensure that service dogs are placed at no cost to recipients.

Register through our friends at GetMeRegistered! Registration fees provide entry to the 5K and trophies (awarded for designated categories). Following the race, you'll enjoy a root beer float in a custom Paws & Effect glass (yours to keep!) along with an array of snacks. You’ll also hear from veteran recipients of Paws & Effect service dogs.

Children ages 12 & under are free.

You can also purchase Paws & Effect T-shirts for $20 at the event.


Saturday, June 7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location will be announced soon.

Sunday, June 8, 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Raccoon River Park, Coneflower Shelters


Chips will be picked up the morning of the 5K from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. All chip timers will be collected at the finish line. A fee will be charged for chips not turned in at the end of the race.


Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. Categories will be announced soon.


Registrants will receive an email with specific details concerning the 5K. You can also keep informed about Paws & Effect through our website, our Facebook page, and the ServiceDog People Jog event page.

For more information about the 5K, or to find out more about Paws & Effect, email

PLEASE NOTE: No refunds will be issued in the event of inclement weather or other unforseen challenges whereas the event would need to be cancelled.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Club Selection for May 1 Event: 'Nudge'

The second Paws & Effect Book Club selection, "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness" will be discussed at the next "Read with Me" event, Thurs., May 1, at the 4 Paws Unleashed doggie daycare facility, 5278 N.E. 14th St., Des Moines, Iowa.

The 2008 book regards how organizational changes in "choice architecture" can positively affect people's decision-making behavior. But that sounds a little dry ...

"By a 'nudge' we mean anything that influences our choices," say authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in an interview. For example, "a school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front. We think that it's time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gentling nudging them in directions that will make their lives better."

Nudge is certain to enlighten and entertain those who want to help make the world a better place, or to help themselves and others make better choices.

Nudge is a past New York Times bestseller, and "best book of the year" for both the Economist magazine and the Financial Times. The book is available at local booksellers or on-line, in trade paperbackAudible audiobook, and Amazon Kindle formats.