Vandalia couple inspires 4 Paws to train Alzheimer’s assistance dogs


Four Paws for Ability is starting a new program to provide service dogs for families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

The new program comes after the Xenia-based nonprofit organization placed Diva, a 4-year-old Papillon, with John and Judy Kucharski, of Vandalia.

“I couldn't do it without (Diva). It takes me away from the situation a little bit,” John Kucharski said of his daily reality providing care for his wife.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

The Kucharskis’ lives changed dramatically in 2002 when Judy started showing signs of dementia. The couple, married for 47 years, has three children. 

John said Judy is “a great mother and great wife,” but her illness has been “devastating.”

“It's the toughest thing I’ve ever been through,” he said. “If I didn't love her I wouldn't do this. It's devastating. But when you love someone. It's what you do.”

In addition to providing companionship for John, Diva is a comfort to Judy and encourages her to take daily walks with her husband.

“It helps the caregiver immensely,” John said.

MORE >>> White vans mark beginning of property reappraisal work

Karen Shirk, founder and CEO of 4 Paws for Ability, said seeing the difference that the pint-size dog made in the Kucharskis’ lives was an inspiration to create the Alzheimer’s Assistant Dog Program. 

“We actually developed the program because we saw what an amazing difference it made in (John’s) life,” Shirk said. 

The primary mission of 4 Paws for Ability is focused on placing trained service dogs with disabled children, but the organization, located at 253 Dayton Ave., has expanded its services to help veterans and train dogs for specific purposes, such as alerting their owner of a seizure or diabetic emergency before it happens.

Shirk said the new Alzheimer’s assistance program will include dogs trained to locate missing people.

“Once we place a dog that needs to do search and rescue, we'll use a larger breed for that,” she said.

For more information, visit 4pawsforability.org or call (937) 374-0385. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

CNN's Anderson Cooper calls out Donald Trump Jr., debunks hurricane meme
CNN's Anderson Cooper calls out Donald Trump Jr., debunks hurricane meme

Atlanta-based CNN is often dismissed as "fake news" by President Donald Trump and his supporters. Seeking to prove their point, some right-wing meme creators found a photo of Anderson Cooper in waist-deep floodwater, claiming he was exaggerating and staging shots during Hurricane Florence.  But the photo was from 2008...
Springfield man expected to be sentenced today in attempted murder case
Springfield man expected to be sentenced today in attempted murder case

A Springfield man accused of shooting at two brothers is expected to be sentenced today, according to online records. Elrashawn Dover, 18, pleaded guilty in Clark County Common Pleas Court to attempted murder, a gun specification and receiving stolen property, according to court records. He faces up to 15.5 years in prison. He also faces a $25,000...
Heinz brings Mayochup to the US; Twitter vote for debut city
Heinz brings Mayochup to the US; Twitter vote for debut city

Americans will soon be able to try Heinz’s latest creation -- Mayochup. The ketchup company introduced the combination in Arab Gulf states earlier this year, but after being prodded to bring the product to U.S. store shelves, the company has decided to give its customers what they want and bring it to America.  All it took was a half million...
National Cheeseburger Day 2018: Deals and freebies on burgers Tuesday
National Cheeseburger Day 2018: Deals and freebies on burgers Tuesday

Tuesday is National Cheeseburger Day, and whether you like yours with “lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes. Big kosher pickle and a cold draught beer,” or if your tastes are more simple, here are some deals on the American classic. 2nd and Charles: Get a free Bob’s Burgers cheeseburger at checkout as long as supplies...
Hyperloop concept gets first regulations, safety guidelines
Hyperloop concept gets first regulations, safety guidelines

An exceptionally fast transportation system may be a step closer to Ohio. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) and German insurance company Munich Re said Monday that a set of core safety requirements and certification guidelines for the fledgling mode of transportation have been created. The hyperloop is expected to transport pods of...
More Stories