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Karen Shirk was struck down with bad health, and then received the further blow of being told she was "too ill" to benefit from an assistance dog. Karen refused to accept that an assistance dog would not improve her quality of life and set about finding and training herself a dog.
The result was a partnership between Karen and her German Shepherd Dog, Ben. Ben turned into an amazing dog, and who was honoured for his work at Karen's side. On at least one occasion he saved Karen's life.
Although she herself had found an answer, Karen couldn't stop thinking about others who were being denied the happiness she had found, and so 4 Paws For Ability was born.
In this interview, Karen talks about the work of 4 Paws, her wonderful dog Ben, and the organisation's positive policies which are helping people and dogs.
Karen has been nominated for an award, which should she win will bring $25,000 to 4 Paws For Ability which will boost the great work already going on. To help Karen win the award, go to www.volvoforlifeawards.org and vote for Karen Shirk.
German Shepherd Dogs
The German Shepherd Dog is an extremely popular breed. They have a terrific reputation as a working dog or pet, and are versatile enough to excel in many kinds of training and activity.
Could a German Shepherd be your perfect dog? If you do choose to share your life with a shepherd just what can you expect? Robin Winter from Narnia Kennels tells us all about German Shepherds, including how they fit into family life, interacting differently with different people, and what to bear in mind when looking for a German Shepherd puppy.
For more information about these marvellous dogs check out Narnia Kennels.
New and other items
In the DogCast Radio News, we have questions with unexpected answers, a town which limits its dogs, and dog with no limits.
If you would like to hear a preview of Jude Stringfellow's book about her family's experiences while caring for two-legged dog Faith, then listen in to Puppy Playtime.
All this plus a question from a listener, and what would you enable your dog to understand if you could?