The Golden PAWS Story: The ImPAWsible Becomes Reality

Guest Contributor: Mike Conroy, Assistant to the Vice President

Wham!  The crowd of donors, volunteers, and board members erupted in applause after Jeannie Bates, the founder of Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs, and Kyle Reed, the President of the Board, swung their sledgehammers into the red, white and blue bullseye on the wall. With two powerful slashes, the construction of the new state-of-the-art facility was officially underway.

I stood there next to Michael Brunoli, PBS’ Project Manager on the job, and the rest of the team, who were all chomping at the bit to get started. After a prolonged pre-construction process, we were finally starting! For us, the wait felt long. For Jeannie, it must have felt like an eternity.

It all started with a dream. A few years ago, Jeannie gathered a few of her closest volunteers and uttered the impossible, “I want to raise 15-million-dollars for a new facility”. Of course, as one would expect, she was met with laughter. It was almost as if Jeannie was making one of her patented off-hand jokes. However, this time was different.

She was serious.

Her unwavering belief and dedication left her no doubts. Jeannie had a goal. She had a dream and was never going to give up. The next day, she put one foot in front of the other, and her team worked… and worked… and worked. Today, she has raised over 13-million-dollars, and her dream facility is well underway. The groundbreaking ceremony did not just signify the beginning of construction. It symbolized the impossible becoming a reality.

As a young professional, Jeannie is an inspiration to me. In our short time together, she has taught me to be bold and dream big. The truth is that nothing monumental is achieved without a seemingly impossible dream.

It has truly been a blessing to be on this journey with Golden PAWS. We are honored to be renovating the iconic Harley Davidson Building for such a special group of people. It is not often we get the opportunity to work with an organization that has such a large impact on the community and this country’s service veterans. This time, we get that chance. At PBS, our mission is to “Build Better Lives for our Team, our Clients, and our Community”. There is no organization that personifies that mission more than Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs. We cannot wait to complete this project for their team and the community. This is a project we will all remember forever.

At the Groundbreaking for the Golden PAWS Facility

To learn more about Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs and the incredible work they do for this country’s service veterans and children with disabilities, please visit their website at

Read more about the Golden PAWS’ story in Naples Daily News here.