After more than three decades of service, Eileen Bohn, the co-founder, and face of Helping Paws will retire from her role as Director of Programs on May 1, 2023.

“Under Eileen’s leadership and dedication, Helping Paws has grown beyond expectations,” shared former Board President Ryan Evers. “She has held every role within the programs organization and has the unique skill of connecting canines with those whose lives would benefit the most from having an assistance dog. Thanks to Eileen, Helping Paws continues to make a life-changing difference in the lives of an otherwise under-served population.

Helping Paws began in 1985 as a pilot project of CENSHARE at the University of Minnesota and became an independent nonprofit in 1988. After years of working with dogs, Eileen saw that successful service dog training began with shaping a puppy’s behavior early in its life. Thirty-five years and hundreds of dogs later, Eileen’s vision and fortitude can be credited with improving the lives of hundreds of individuals with physical disabilities. In recent years, Eileen recognized the need to train service dogs to assist veterans and first responders with PTSD, as well as facility dogs who work in the mental health industry. Those additional services have allowed hundreds of more lives to be changed within the Twin Cities and the surrounding 5-state area.



“At Helping Paws we have a shared goal of training assistance dogs that will benefit the lives of: individuals with physical disabilities, veterans and first responders with PTSD and facilities that utilize dogs to assist people. To reach this goal, we begin with purposely-bred puppies cared for by volunteer caretaker homes and trained by volunteer foster home trainers. Guided by our training, staff who work with our volunteers and clients for successful assistance dog partnerships, we achieve partnerships that are beneficial to both the human partner and dog partner. The work we do enriches the lives of all in our Helping Paws community. I am blessed to be a part of Helping Paws.” -Eileen Bohn

Eileen is a pioneer in the service dog industry and is highly respected by Assistance Dog International, which accredits the assistance dog industry.  Helping Paws’ mission, which Eileen established and spent decades upholding by engaging hundreds of volunteer foster home trainers and donors alike, will continue as a search is underway for a new Director of Programs. While Eileen’s daily presence will be missed, Helping Paws will honor her legacy by staying true to its mission.

About Helping Paws
Helping Paws has nearly forty years of experience training and placing service dogs with individuals who have physical disabilities and with veterans and first responders with PTSD. Helping Paws service dogs are trained to provide assistance with many daily living activities and offer increased independence, companionship, and improvement in their quality of life. Helping Paws also trains and places facility dogs with mental health professionals. The Minnesota-based non-profit operates almost entirely on donations. Helping Paws is fully accredited by Assistance Dogs International. 

For more information, please contact:
Alyssa Golob, Executive Director
952-988-9359 ext. 14
630 12th Avenue South
PO Box 634
Hopkins, MN 55343