Students at UNC Wilmington Partner with paws4people to Train Dogs for Children and Veterans

Published 05/15/19


Students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington partner with nonprofit paws4people to train dogs for children and veterans.

Established in 1999 when founder Kyria Henry was just 12 years old, paws4people trains Assistance Dogs as a means of helping people and transforming lives.

The Assistance Dog Training Program expanded in August 2011 with a first-of-its-kind four-course certificate program at UNCW called UNCW/p4p ADTP. Since launch, over 1,000 students of all majors have participated and worked with paws4people to train the final two semesters of the dogs' specialization for clients.

"He helps me behind closed doors where a phone call can't reach. There is no judgment in his eyes, there's no anything that is negative whatsoever. They (paws4people) have already trained out all the negative things about getting a dog. All there is is happiness, joy, love, unconditional love and do you want to go throw a ball."

Adam Campbell
paws4veterans Client


The Approach

The mission of paws4people is to educate and empower people to utilize Assistance Dogs to transform their lives. That mission is upheld across seven programs including the University of North Carolina Wilmington/ paws4people Assistance Dog Training program and its unique certificate initiative.

Throughout the program's four-course progression, students learn about the types, history, training and governance of Assistance Dogs. This is coupled with learnings on training theory and practice, dog psychology and body language. The robust classroom studies are then bolstered by hands-on practice.

Each student that goes through the program is responsible for continuing the tough training regimen already set in motion before the dogs come to UNCW's campus. In the dogs' final two semesters of training, handlers work to tailor and customize the 100+ commands to the needs of each client.

At the program's end participants remark on the rewarding nature of the work and many turn what they have learned into a career.


What began with a 12 year old's poorly behaved dog in 1999, has grown into a national organization with working dog teams in 25 states and 1 province across seven different programs. As a result of this nonprofit's dedication over the last 19 years to transforming lives as a leading Assistance Dog organization and elevating the standards for Assistance Dog training, over 587 dogs have been placed and a lasting positive impact has been made on exponentially more lives.

Dog Placements
Training hours completed by UNCW students in FY17
Inmate trainers participate in paws4prisons

About the Organization

Founded in 1999, paws4people is a 501(c)(3) public charity that places trained, certified, and insured Assistance Dogs with individuals with physical, neurological, psychological, and/or emotional disabilities, including civilians (including children, adolescents, and adults) through its paws4people Assistance Dog Placement Program, and Veterans, Service Members, and dependents of either through its paws4vets Assistance Dog Placement Program.

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Students at UNC Wilmington Partner with paws4people to Train Dogs for Children and Veterans


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