After selling our business of many years we realized that we were in a position to start to give back to our community. After considering many options we began to realize that there is a largely underserved portion of our population with special needs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 53 million Americans have a disability, which includes people of all ages. About two-thirds of these individuals have a severe disability. Many of which include mobility, seizure, psychiatric, PTSD, autism and diabetes.
DogsInVests began with a dream to help others in our area to become more independent. We strive to empower individuals with special needs by providing them with custom trained service dogs. Our goal is to facilitate specialized training, education, and ensure the placement of service dogs to individuals with autism, without causing financial burdens on themselves or their families.
While looking for a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of owning a dental supply company, Paul’s wife Michelle casually mentioned service dog training. Always the visionary and full of ideas Paul went to work and DogsInVests was born! A life long dog lover, and now a puppy raiser Paul is all in on the many benefits children with autism experience when they have a service dog. Who better to serve as our Executive Director? We are pretty sure we have the right guy!
Director of Advancement
After many years volunteering in various fundraising capacities, Michelle and her husband Paul decided to found their own non-profit organization. They started with a great love for dogs and a desire to give back to the community and hence DogsInVests was established. Michelle is very excited to promote the organization through public relations and in her capacity as the primary fundraiser. She has enjoyed meeting other members of the non-profit community and hearing about their worthy causes. She looks forward to the future of transforming the lives of many individuals with our amazing service dogs.
As someone who loves four legged furry friends, Meghan was drawn to DogsInVests as a way to match those in need with a service dog to assist them through day to day activities and help expand on their abilities. She loves that she is able to be on the ground floor building such a fantastic organization that will not only help the child with autism, but also their families and our communities. Her fantastic organizational skills and love for spreadsheets made her the perfect fit to be our Administrative Director. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, son, daughter and family dog, Uecker.
Director of Client Services
Barb Fredericks is the Director of Client Services for DogsInVests. She is a parent of a young adult son with autism and epilepsy. They have a eight-year-old golden retriever named Abby who is not a service dog but provides lots of love and laughter. She believes having a dog has really added a special experience to their family. Abby is in tune to their son’s feelings and behaviors and this has inspired her to want to help others benefit from a custom trained service dog.
Patti has been instructing owners and their dogs for over forty years and is a certified instructor from the Association of Professional Dog Trainer and Animal Behavioral College. However, those in the dog behavior industry know that dogs trainers are constantly learning more and more about how dogs learn and better ways to communicate with them.
This is why Patti loves working for DogsInVests. It is a wonderful opportunity and challenge for her to learn how to mold the dog's behavior to meet the needs of the client. The skills learned aren't just for house manners or for a competitive sport, the skills trained at DogsInVests may be life-saving. The dogs that graduate out of this program will offer security and comfort to their human partner and in addition, maybe a medical alert dog for low blood sugar, seizures or anxiety. Imagine a parent's sense of comfort knowing their child's four legged companion can detect dangerous blood sugar levels or the onset of a seizure faster than a meter or any person.
How can anyone not be excited about the role of these dogs when matched to their new home?
Director of Animal Health and Welfare
Dr. Svang is passionate about the power a service dog has to enhance the lives of all people. She oversees animal health and welfare here at DogsInVests and is thrilled to be part of the organization. She currently practices veterinary medicine at Prairie Animal Hospital keeping family pets of all sorts happy and healthy.
As a web design minor at Carroll University, Katherine joined the DogsInVests Team in May 2018 when our journey as a nonprofit began. Since then, she has used the inspiration of the dogs and individuals we work with to bring our website to life.