Helping Paws began in 1985 as a pilot project of the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Human-Animal Relationships and Environment (CENSHARE), and became an independent nonprofit in 1988. Early experiences showed that for successful service dog training, we needed to start with puppies to begin shaping behaviors early in each dog’s life. The first dog to complete such training and be placed was Alpha, a Golden Retriever who went on to serve his partner for many years.  

We moved to our current location in Hopkins in 2007, a space that offers a large indoor fully-accessible training center for classes and team training.

Thirty years after its incorporation, the core of Helping Paws remains its inspiring base of volunteers and community support that allows us to change lives each day.