For all of you who have known and loved (or hated) me, you know that when I received my first Mobility Assistance Dog (Emmy) from PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services) it was a life-changing event! I was able to walk farther, walk up and down the steep driveway to get mail, and go to my clients’ offices.
When Emmy retired because of medical reasons, I was devastated. PAALS came up with a solution, and I now have Warrior! We’ve been partners for a little over a year, and despite my shoulder surgery in April, and the long recovery involved, we are doing well together.
The emergency is this: PAALS is in BIG TROUBLE!! For 9 years, this little 501(c)(3) organization has worked like an ant colony not only to provide quality-trained dogs for people like me (mobility needs), for children with autism, and for facilities (like PT clinics), but more and more for Veterans with PTSD. The Veterans who can go through the PAALS program and receive their dogs are able to “function far better in society, staying calm and being able to go out in the community and lead a relatively normal life.” The staff and volunteers have, at the same time, been working extremely hard to scrape the money together to get their own building and facility for housing and training the dogs.
In May, 2015, they finally were able to purchase a building with an adequately sized, fenced-in area. With weeks and weeks of hard work by volunteers and staff, they were able to renovate the building to meet the specialized needs of their dogs, staff and clients. They moved their operations into the new building in early August. There was much optimism and cheering!
BUT, almost immediately, DISASTER STRUCK!! They suffered from a sewage backup from down the street, that left 2 inches of raw sewage in the entire building! Fortunately, the dogs were gone for the weekend, so none of them were harmed, but the staff came in to an absolute catastrophe on Monday morning. Unfortunately, the sewage had probably been in place for more than 24 hours, which is extremely harmful.
The sewer company, East Richland County Public Service District, found that the blockage was in the main line. They sent a company to clean it up, however, there have been insurance issues, so the company only got rid of the sewage and treated the floors with a cleansing agent. Since the raw sewage had been sitting and the cleanup went slowly, PAALS now has a problem with mold, so the cleanup and repair work is going to be extensive. PAALS has been told several times that no insurance is going to cover it, except a $5000 allotment from the state. The estimate to clean up and repair the building (remove and replace the drywall and flooring and thoroughly clean the studs) is over $130,000. They just don’t have this kind of money – They had spent most of their money buying and renovating the building.
They are now stuck with an unusable building that can’t be sold and is very expensive to make usable. I don’t want this catastrophe to cause the end of PAALS!!
What can be done? Even if Himself and I lived in South Carolina, we would not be able to volunteer or do anything to help. We have limited funds ourselves, being retired and on Social Security, and being “aged and decrepit,” are not be able to do any of the manual labor. Thus, we are trying to help them to our ability with fundraising. So far, in 1 day, 75 people have raised $5000! This is mainly in $25 and $50 increments, with a few larger donations.
Just donations of $5 or $10 will help. More, if possible, of course, but ANYTHING you can give is important and gladly, gratefully accepted by PAALS. You can donate directly to PAALS by going to their website HERE or by going to their GOFUNDME page.
You can also help PAALS by spreading the news to your friends and relations. I know that every organization in the world is asking for money. And many are very worthy causes – perhaps a cause you have supported for years. But PAALS has done so much good already, it would just about destroy all the people on the waiting list if they could not get their dogs! And the staff and volunteers who have put their time, energy, money and blood into building this little organization would simply be devastated. Those of us who already have PAALS dogs would be left trying to continue without the support of the PAALS organization.
Please “Help PAALS Get Back On Their Paws!”
Thank you so VERY MUCH!