New Vista, a local Las Vegas non-profit organization serving children and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), recently announced the launch of their pet therapy program, Paws-able. The program’s focus is to rescue shelter dogs and train them to assist and support individuals with IDD.

Paws-able is the brainchild of New Vista member, Roy Ransom, 22. As a young man living with cerebal palsy, Roy has overcome many obstacles in working towards living independently. An active member and spokesperson of New Vista’s Speakers’ Bureau, Roy advocates on behalf of individuals with IDD. “I have dealt with some very difficult issues such as homelessness and other challenges not even related to CP,” explains Roy. “I am very grateful for the support I receive from New Vista and the staff from my home. I told them I really wanted my own dog, a rescue dog. I was dealing with issues of depression, and I thought that in rescuing a dog, we could really help each other, so I asked about starting the program and we did.”

With the support of the Animal Foundation, volunteer dog trainers, and local animal lovers and donors, the New Vista Paws-able pet therapy program was launched in July. Roy visited the shelter at the Animal Foundation, met and fell in love with King, a black labrador/pitbull mix.

“Watching the two of them together is so magical. They belong together, they need each other,” shared Sandy Yacono, New Vista manager and program co-founder. “King has already had such a wonderful, positive impact in Roy’s life, and has become a wonderful anchor and companion. They’ve rescued each other.”

Roy and King are taking classes, working to secure King’s certification as a therapy dog. In keeping with New Vista’s mission to “Lead With Love,” the pair plan to educate the public about rescue dogs serving as emotional support animals for people with IDD as part of their advocacy for the IDD community.

New Vista’s Wine Walk fundraisers, a 14-year community tradition and Las Vegas locals’ favorite charity event, will kick off the 2018 fall wine walk season by announcing that the “Wine Walks Have Gone to the Dogs,” to help feature the launch of the Paws-able program. In addition to the 20-plus, award-winning wine tasting stations, food samplings, activities and live music offered at the wine walks, the event will offer special tasting stations for their four-legged fur friends.

Local pet rescue organizations such as the Golden Retriever Rescue Southern Nevada, Hearts Alive and the Animal Foundation will be on hand at the wine walks as community partners in the Paws-able program.

The wine walk fall season begins on September 22nd at Downtown Summerlin, and on October 6th at Town Square. For more information on how to support New Vista’s Paws-able program and Wine Walk series, please visit newvistanv.org.

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