Behind the Scenes
Freedom Paws Service Dogs Foundation was founded by Corey and Teresa James in September 2018. Corey is a 100% disabled veteran rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Corey was active duty Air Force from August 1998 until October 2007. Corey joined the Illinois Air National Guard prior to leaving active duty. He then joined the 182nd Air Wing based out of Peoria Illinois. Corey was a Security Forces/Military Police member his entire career. After multiple deployments, and years after he left the military, Corey and his family noticed a huge change in his demeanor. Corey was always on edge, hyper-vigilant, could not be in large crowds, varying his routes when traveling in a vehicle. These are just a few of the things he deals with on a day to day basis.
Corey was training with another program to get a service dog for himself when they unfortunately had to close due personal events. Corey trained with this foundation for over a year and a half. Once the foundation he was training with closed the doors and Corey never received a service dog, he once again went into a downward spiral. Corey explained to Teresa how therapeutic it was for him to be around the canines and train with them. One evening when Corey and Teresa sat down for dinner, Teresa suggested they start their own non profit to help veterans with PTSD in need just like Corey.
Corey and Teresa spent months planning and strategizing how they envisioned a good PTSD (Psychiatric Service Dog) company would operate. The very first thing they wanted to do is form a 501(c)3 nonprofit. They both knew the process takes a very long time to get approved. They wanted to operate as a nonprofit because the average fully trained PTSD service dog cost approximately $25,000. They wanted to be able to train the dogs and the veterans without charging a fee. Instead, they would ask the recipient to make a donation. The donation could be monetary or they could purchase something for the foundation such as dog food, service dog vests, or leashes.