PAALS Impacting South Carolina - DatelineCarolina

Specialized dogs help hundreds in the Palmetto state

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Nicolas Borsellino, one of the instructors at PAALS, talks about just how much work goes into training these dogs. Nicolas Borsellino, one of the instructors at PAALS, talks about just how much work goes into training these dogs.
Jory Fleming is one of the many clients PAALS has helped around the Palmetto state. Jory Fleming is one of the many clients PAALS has helped around the Palmetto state.

By Tim Kallal

"It is a ton of work, but a lot of it is fun and rewarding," said Nicolas Borsellino.

Borsellino is a trainer/instructor at PAALS, Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services, in Columbia. PAALS is a nonprofit organization that trains dogs to assist people with varying disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and a variety of mobility issues.

One of the main sources of volunteers for PAALS is students at the University of South Carolina in Cocky's Canine PAALS. This is a student service organization that provides PAALS with volunteers, fundraising, and other services that make it easier to train of the dogs.

Katie Ricks, vice president of Cocky Canine PAALS, said it is a lot of work, but all worth it.

"I cried a little bit when I saw one of the first dogs I ever worked with graduate with their person, so that was really special. Just seeing how they all end up is really cool," said Ricks.

PAALS helps many people all across the Palmetto state. One of these clients is Jory Fleming, a USC junior who suffers from medical disabilities that qualified him for a PAALS service dog named Daisy.

"Being a person with autism, Daisy has really helped me branch out and interact with more people then I would have, which I think has been very beneficial," said Fleming.

Seeing reactions like Fleming's is exactly what keeps trainer/instructor Nicolas Borsellino happy with his job.

"It is amazing. I just don't know how else to explain it," said Borsellino.

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