Kari Zapolski had a difficult year in 2006. Her father died, she lost her dog of 13 years and her sister was battling cancer. Through her pain, she realizes she can lift her spirits by helping others. She and her friend Sally Smith decide to give their challenge money to Paws for a Cause, a service dog training organization based in Wayland, Michigan.
The gift touches on each of Kari's hardships. Kari's sister's illness reminds her how those with disabilities need help from others. Many of the dogs trained by Paws for a Cause are golden retrievers like the dog she lost, and her father trained military dogs when he served in Vietnam.
Kari and Sally visit the facility that sends dogs to clients throughout the United States. Dogs are trained over several months to do a range of tasks from opening doors and picking up dropped items to operating elevators. A staff member at Paws for a Cause tells Kari and Sally how her dog Argon saved her life when she fell into a glass table and cut her head. Doctors say she would have bled to death if it had not been for the quick work of Argon, who found and delivered the phone although it was not in its regular spot.
Paws for a Cause will use the $2,000 Kari and Sally donate to train dogs and buy supplies as needed. "You kind of get caught up in your own troubles and sadness, and there's a point where you realize that, beyond you, people all around you are suffering and hurting. And that's where you want to get out and try to do something for somebody else, and at the same time, it actually does something for you, too," Kari says after completing the challenge.