Who They Are
Together Saving Paws is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of law enforcement K-9s and survivors of human trafficking. Organization founder Kim Slaughter's dream has been to make a difference in the lives of animals since she was a child. While Together Saving Paws was originally envisioned as a nonprofit supporting no-kill shelters, Kim pivoted its mission when she learned about the alarming issue of human trafficking — and how animals can help.
Teaming up with Operation Underground Railroad and other aftercare programs, Together Saving Paws provides a holistic approach by integrating rescued dogs into the lives of survivors during their recovery and reintegration into society. The organization also takes pride in ensuring the safety of K-9s working in law enforcement, particularly those with specialized skills.
What They Do
Bulletproof Vests for Law Enforcement K-9s
Together Saving Paws provides bulletproof vests for K-9s trained in narcotic detection, as well as those specialized in sniffing out electronic storage devices. The latter group, known as Electronic Storage Device (ESD) K-9s, plays a crucial role in combating child exploitation and human trafficking. These highly trained Labrador Retrievers can detect scents emanating from hidden SD cards, aiding law enforcement in apprehending criminals who attempt to conceal evidence behind walls or other hiding places. The ballistic vests, costing around $1100 each, offer protection to these canine heroes.
Emotional Support for Human Trafficking Survivors
In the second facet of their mission, Together Saving Paws focuses on rescuing dogs and training them to become emotional support animals. These dogs are then placed with survivors of human trafficking, offering companionship and solace during the recovery process.
Survivors are identified through partnering organizations, such as the Hope Center in Arizona. After careful vetting, selected survivors are matched with rescue dogs through a thoughtful process involving trainers. The trainers assess the dogs' behavior and compatibility with the survivor, ensuring a harmonious relationship. The nonprofit covers adoption fees and veterinary bills and provides a starter kit for the survivor, including essentials for the newly adopted pet.
The impact of these emotional support dogs is evident in the testimonies of survivors like Ani, who recently shared her experience of overcoming panic attacks with the presence of her canine companion, Kali (pictured below).
Kim Slaughter envisions Together Saving Paws as a lifeline for survivors, offering not only the unconditional love of a rescue dog but also a sense of purpose and stability during the challenging journey of recovery. “I like to say we’re saving two souls at a time,” she says.
How We’re Helping
Our $1,000 donation will help provide a ballistic vest for K-9 Cam, an ESD K-9 from Kentucky State Police’s Electronic Crime Branch (pictured below).
However, several K-9s are still in need of vests. Donors who provide the cost of a vest for one of these brave dogs will be assigned a specific K-9 recipient, acknowledged on social media, and receive updates and pictures when the vest is received.