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PAVE was founded by Dr. Michelle Nelson in 2010 with the goal of placing assistance dogs with Veterans.  Her son served in the Navy and through that very personal connection the need for service dogs for Veterans was emphasized. Dr. Nelson had worked training with different types of service dogs for quite some time and had seen first hand the amazing assistance they can provide. The goal of this organization became to reduce Veteran suicide and pave the way home for so many Veterans suffering from PTSD and other challenges due to their service. After extensive research and education specifically in the field of assistance dogs for PTSD, and nonprofits, including a 6 week intensive summer service dog training seminar at Bergin University, PAVE’s bylaws were adopted by the board of directors on November 14, 2011. PAVE filed the articles of incorporation with the State of Oregon on November 3, 2011. PAVE was granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS January 19, 2012. In 2017 PAVE was accredited by Assistance Dogs International, the leading authority in the assistance dog industry setting the standards for best practice guidelines across the globe. PAVE is one of only three service dog organizations in Oregon to be accredited by Assistance Dogs International.


PAVE service dogs are placed with veterans free of charge. Paws Assisting Veterans is funded entirely by grants and donations and thus depends on community support to continue this necessary work. PAVE service dogs are trained for veterans with mental and/or physical disabilities. There is a great need for service dogs for veterans and the demand is larger than the supply. It is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide daily. Assistance dogs have been shown to have a very positive influence on the mental and physical state of veterans.


PAVE does not train or certify dogs outside of our program.