Lucky 7! The Hero Litter Goes Home

Seven Golden Retriever puppies met their seven foster homes last Friday in an aura of great smiles and wagging tails. The Hero Litter (Lambeau x Mare) took an exuberant step in their journey to become service dogs, heading out into the world in the arms of their foster families.  These 8-week-old puppies will reunite weekly for training classes and new learning experiences. In the meantime, the pictures say more than a thousand words:


Deep thanks to Katy Shannon (Caretaker Home), Jessie Douglas (donation of Lambeau as sire), and foster home trainers Carol Carlson, Abby Churchill,  Pat Lewis, John Litch, Signe McKie, Sara Mullaney, and Allen Pankow.

Photos by Judy Michurski

Only 2 more sleeps!

2012-06-12 Chester x Karma-221 (2)


Excitement is in the house – the Chester x Karma Labrador Retriever puppies go to their foster home trainers in just two days!

2012-06-12 Chester x Karma-278 (2)



These five pups, three girls and two boys, were born May 2nd. Helping Paws caretaker home Darcy and Joe Slavin with daughters Madalyn, Emma and Sophie have done a tremendous job giving these puppies a great start. Karma is on loan to Helping Paws from The2012-06-12 Chester x Karma-249 (2) Captain’s Labradors. The sire for this litter is Chester, also of The Captain’s Labradors. Much appreciation to Rob and Denise Babcock for their generous support of Helping Paws!

This litter is the G, or Game, litter. The foster home trainers will give the dogs names that begin with the letter G.


2012-06-12 Chester x Karma-235 (2)2012-06-12 Chester x Karma-228 (2)

We extend a warm welcome to the five new foster home trainers for these dogs! These families will foster and train the dogs for the 2 1/2 years it takes to become service dogs for individuals with physical disabilities or veterans with PTSD. We are thrilled to have you join the Helping Paws community: Debby Cox, Peggy Ford, Sue Struckness, Lisa Gustafson, and Mary Phelps.

2012-06-12 Chester x Karma-212 (2)

Photos courtesy of Judy Michurski.

Jenga is in the house!

Helping Paws began in 1985 as a pilot program of the Center to Study the Human-Animal Relationships & Environment (CENSHARE) at the University of Minnesota, placing service dogs with individuals with physical disabilities.  A few years ago, we initiated our program of matching service dogs with military veterans with PTSD. Last year we graduated our first facility dog, Alta, who provides service to visitors to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It is fitting, then, that we recently broadened our mission statement: Furthering people’s independence and quality of life through the use of Assistance Dogs.

Assistance Dogs International defines a Facility Dog in this way: “A specially trained dog that is working with a volunteer or professional who is trained by a program. The work of a facility dog can include visitations or professional therapy in one or more locations.”

Jenga, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever (Huey x Myrtle), is our second facility dog placement. Jenga works with therapist Ashley Groshek at Headway Emotional Health in a day treatment program for adolescents. Below is an article Ashley wrote introducing Jenga to the team.

“Hopkins Day Treatment would like to introduce everyone to the newest member of the team. His name is Jenga and he is a two-year old yellow lab. He has spent the last two years training to be a service dog through Helping Paws. Helping Paws is a local organization that trains service dogs for individuals with physical disabilities. They found out that he has a hip abnormality and will not be able to be placed with a person who has a disability. He knows almost 80 commands and is able to open doors, turn on lights, take off sock and retrieve objects. He also loves to snuggle with teenagers when they are talking about difficult things and providing comic relief during group therapy. So far he has been a wonderful addition to our program for kids, families, and staff. If you happened to be visiting the Hopkins site feel free to stop in and say HI!!


Jenga and I were officially placed together as a graduate team as of Thursday May 5th and will be celebrating our formal graduation September 30,2016 at Hopkins high school. The ceremony starts at 7:00pm and anyone is welcome to attend.”

Ashley Groshek MA, LMFT

Puppy Update!

Our two litters of puppies are busy thriving!

Born May 2, the Chester x Karma (Game Litter) Labrador Retrievers:


Born May 19, the Lambeau x Mare (Hero Litter) Golden Retrievers:


Hooray for puppies on a beautiful June day!

All photos courtesy of Judy Michurski.

2016-05-23 Lambeau x Mare-206-cr

Puppy Love

“Love is in the air everywhere I look around                                 2016-05-19 Lambeau x Mare-229 (2)
Love is in the air every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes.”

(George Young and Harry Vanda)


Spring is here, and so are PUPPIES! Helping Paws welcomed two litters of pups this month…Chester x Karma, and Lambeau x Mare.

Making their second blog appearance, the Chester x Karma Labrador Retriever puppies are now three weeks old. The three girls and two boys, the Game, or G, litter, are thriving. Karma is on loan to Helping Paws from The Captain’s Labradors. The sire for this litter is Chester, also of The Captain’s Labradors. Much appreciation to Rob and Denise Babcock for their generous support of Helping Paws! Our caretaker family is the Slavins: Darcy and Joe, with daughters Madalyn, Emma and Sophie. What a great job they are doing as first-time caretakers! The puppy names, chosen by Madalyn, Emma and Sophie, are Bruno, Daisy, Duke, Lily and Dakota. Great job, girls!

Arriving two days early on May 19, the seven Lambeau x Mare Golden Retriever puppies are already showing their moxie, gaining weight and investigating Mom. This is the Hero, or H, litter – four boys and three girls. Their litter names are Braveheart, Loyalla, Honor,  Charming,  Trusty,  Love  and Patience, all characteristics of being a hero. Katy Shannon and family are the caretaker home; Katy trained Aida, and then decided to become a caretaker home. Lambeau’s owner Jessie Douglas has generously donated  Lambeau as stud once again – thank you, Jessie!

Photos courtesy of Judy Michurski.