Why was APAW created?
APAW began in 2007 as a one-person non-profit organization dedicated to training Standard Poodles (as well as occasional Minis/Toys and Poodle mixes of any size) as Service Dogs to aid partners with mobility impairment and Social/Therapy Dogs to visit and work with others through settings such as nursing homes, hospitals and schools. As an ultimate goal, APAW has always intended to branch out to providing Poodles for every type of working role, including Search and Rescue, various types of other scent detection, hunting, and assorted performance sports such as agility, obedience, disc, freestyle, and certain aspects of protection.
APAW founder and trainer Jillian (Gartner) Emerson quickly realized that there was a strong need for a carefully designed purpose-breeding program to focus on breeding dogs with suitable temperament, structure and health characteristics to graduate as working Service and Therapy Dogs. From our inception, APAW has been dedicated to acquiring and strategically breeding purebred Standard Poodles towards the many characteristics needed for these roles. After our initial period of accepting mixes and rescues into our training program and finding none able to meet minimum criteria for graduation, we shifted our focus entirely to purebred Poodles with known backgrounds. APAW separately has also cultivated high-intensity working temperaments suited towards the other roles in which we wish to provide Poodles.
Ups & Downs
APAW’s size has fluctuated over the years, even renting a dedicated facility for a few years and building a volunteer base equaling the work hours of multiple employees, though financially never reached the ability to hire. For a few years founder Jillian was able to receive a meager salary for her round-the-clock care and training of the dogs in addition to all other aspects of running the program, but ultimately needed to return to pure volunteer status.
Eventually Jillian got married and APAW moved into a converted garage space at her home. Jillian now is raising her young children and APAW has been down-sized to the base level of maintaining the genetics of the carefully cultivated breeding program, and finishing out the training of Service Dogs for clients who were on the waiting list prior to the program’s redirection.