About Us

About Us


The objective of PGI is to train service dogs to assist people with a variety of different disabilities while providing support to encourage independence. PGI educates the public about the benefits of service dogs and encourages animal rescue by obtaining many of our animals from shelters and rescue groups.


  • To provide quality service dogs free of charge to adults and children
  • Provide exceptional canine health and overall well-being for our dogs
  • Create the highest quality match between dog and handler
  • Develop a long-term relationship with our alumni and the community
  • To educate the public about service dogs through demonstrations


  • Ensure proper humane treatment toward people and animals
  • Remain open to innovation and change
  • Encourage the use of teamwork and good communication
  • Show accountability for our actions
  • Promote honesty and integrity
  • Work toward furthering PGI’s mission


PGI’s Primary Focus

Mobility Service Dog

Mobility Service Dogs help by performing functions for a person that is limited by a disability.

  • Mobility impairments (wheelchair, unstable walking, balance difficulty)
  • Medical Response (Seizures, Epilepsy, Diabetes)
  • Visual impairment (Partial site)
  • Hearing impairments
  • Other physical/mental disabilities

Psychiatric Service dog

Psychiatric Service dogs perform tasks to make their handler more independent

  • PGI does not train or certify Emotional Support Dogs

Facilitator Assisted Companion Dog

Facilitator Assisted Companion dogs help individuals with disabilities or other developmental delays and the parent/caregiver is certified to handle the dog.

Facility Dogs

Facility Dogs are Trained to perform animal assisted interventions at a facility: hospitals, medical facilities, nursing homes and other facilities.

  • Pediatric outpatient rehab centers
  • Veterans Outpatient rehab centers
  • Juvenile residential homes
  • Grade Schools, High Schools & Colleges
  • Nursing homes


Who We Are

Paws Giving Independence NFP (PGI) is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 by Bradley University undergraduate students. After working with a service dog group in Chicago, the students realized the Central Illinois community would greatly benefit from such an organization. Being physical therapy and nursing majors they called on a friend majoring in business, to help with the organization’s finances and business aspects. PGI took third place in Bradley University’s Project Springboard competition in the fall of 2008. This competition gave the founders the tools and resources they needed to move the organization forward.

The purpose of PGI is to train service dogs to physically assist people with various disabilities. Many of our dogs are rescues and come to us from various organizations throughout our community.

Dogs complete simple tasks for their owners such as picking up dropped items, turning on lights or opening doors. These tasks would be difficult or impossible for these individuals without assistance. PGI’s goal is to provide support to encourage independence for the dogs’ owners. In addition, the dogs bridge the gap between the disabled and non-disabled communities.

Similar organizations may charge between $10,000 and $15,000 for a service dog; however, PGI is different because it places its dogs free of charge. PGI’s service dogs benefit individuals with spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, balance problems, and more. PGI is run exclusively on public donations and endowments.

PGI – Saving a life, to change a life.