Eyes Ears Nose & Paws

308 W Rosemary St. #304

Chapel Hill, NC 27516


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Contact: Jake Mory


October 5, 2020         jakemory@live.unc.edu


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Eyes Ears Nose and Paws celebrates the pairings of seven clients and dogs, made official last week during a graduation ceremony.

“There’s an entire community behind each EENP team. Graduation is a special opportunity for that community to step back and celebrate the transformative power of the work we do everyday,” said EENP founder and executive director Maria Ikenberry.

These dogs have been training to change the lives of EENP clients since birth, and after two years, they will now serve as either mobility service dogs or medical alert dogs. Mobility service dogs assist clients with a variety of tasks such as retrieving items and opening doors, while medical alert dogs use their phenomenal sense of smell to detect changes in medical conditions like diabetes.

Bethany Spencer, a master’s student at Western Carolina University studying clinical psychology, lives with Tourette syndrome and experiences poor motor control and sensory overstimulation during recurring migraines which can each last up to two weeks. Bethany was recently paired with mobility assistance dog Stinson and reflected on her newfound independence and ability to continue her education.


“My disabilities have progressed to the point that continuing school has become a challenge. With Stinson, I know that I’ll always have someone there to assist me with whatever I might need. In just over a week, Stinson has already made such a difference in my life and I can’t wait to finish school with him by my side,” Bethany said.

The graduation ceremony also celebrated these pairings:

Traditionally, graduation is an in-person celebration, but the organization hosted a live graduation on Facebook to celebrate the accomplishments of its trainers, dogs and clients. The highlights can be found on the EENP Facebook page.

The ceremony also marked the launch of the final phase of EENP’s capital campaign, created to support the renovation of a permanent home for the nonprofit in Hillsborough. Donations to the capital campaign will be matched up to a total of $25,000, and can be made here www.eenp.org/donate/capital-campaign. 

The current EENP office is very small and it is not possible for multiple staff members to be there and train safely, forcing everyone to work from home. In the face of the pandemic, EENP needs to be in this new home to get back to business as usual.


About Eyes Ears Nose and Paws:EENP is a Chapel Hill nonprofit that partners people with service dogs to improve lives, harnessing the unique strength of human-canine partnerships. The process involves teaching inmates to train assistance dogs through a volunteer program named ABEL. We then partner the service dogs with people who have disabilities. Since 2010, we have partnered 45 service dogs with clients, and each dog performs an average of 50,000 service hours over its lifetime. EENP is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International, a worldwide coalition of nonprofit programs that train and place assistance dogs. Learn more or join the group of 2,000 volunteers that have been part of EENP’s mission since 2008 at https://eenp.org/.