Vandalia couple inspires 4 Paws to train Alzheimer’s assistance dogs

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 11:56 AM

Vandalia couple inspire 4 paws

Four Paws for Ability is starting a new program to provide service dogs for families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

The new program comes after the Xenia-based nonprofit organization placed Diva, a 4-year-old Papillon, with John and Judy Kucharski, of Vandalia.

“I couldn't do it without (Diva). It takes me away from the situation a little bit,” John Kucharski said of his daily reality providing care for his wife.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

The Kucharskis’ lives changed dramatically in 2002 when Judy started showing signs of dementia. The couple, married for 47 years, has three children. 

John said Judy is “a great mother and great wife,” but her illness has been “devastating.”

Judy and Diva(Contributed)

“It's the toughest thing I’ve ever been through,” he said. “If I didn't love her I wouldn't do this. It's devastating. But when you love someone. It's what you do.”

In addition to providing companionship for John, Diva is a comfort to Judy and encourages her to take daily walks with her husband.

“It helps the caregiver immensely,” John said.

MORE >>> White vans mark beginning of property reappraisal work

Karen Shirk, founder and CEO of 4 Paws for Ability, said seeing the difference that the pint-size dog made in the Kucharskis’ lives was an inspiration to create the Alzheimer’s Assistant Dog Program. 

“We actually developed the program because we saw what an amazing difference it made in (John’s) life,” Shirk said. 

The primary mission of 4 Paws for Ability is focused on placing trained service dogs with disabled children, but the organization, located at 253 Dayton Ave., has expanded its services to help veterans and train dogs for specific purposes, such as alerting their owner of a seizure or diabetic emergency before it happens.

Shirk said the new Alzheimer’s assistance program will include dogs trained to locate missing people.

“Once we place a dog that needs to do search and rescue, we'll use a larger breed for that,” she said.

For more information, visit or call (937) 374-0385. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

Gates open at the 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

Blue Angels show off jet at Air Show

Gates are now open for today’s 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show.

The first acts take to the skies at noon and fly through 4:15 p.m.

Today’s lineup of feature flying acts include: the Tuskegee Airmen, P-51 Mustang, U.S. Army Golden Knights, Vicky Benzing, B-17 Movie Memphis Belle, Redline, Sean Tucker, U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight, CareFlight dedication, Tora Tora Tora, Jet Waco and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

Gates close at 6 p.m., and will be open again from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

>> Air show forecast: Warm with chance for showers, storms

>> RTA offers express shuttle service to Vectren Dayton Air Show

>> How to avoid traffic and parking headaches at this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show

>> Parking lots in good shape for Vectren Dayton Air Show


Trending - Most Read Stories

Dayton Air Show parking lots in good shape so far this year

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:23 PM

Dayton Air Show parking lots in good shape so far this year

The organizers of the 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show say with all the rain this week, they do not want a repeat of the mess from years in the past.

All of the mud has caused problems in the past years, causing vehicles to get stuck and having to be pulled out of the muddy parking lot. 

Roger Doctor, the air show’s public safety director, admits he has underestimated the mud before, but this year he’ll actually be sending drivers to test out the ground in the morning before the show. If it’s too muddy, they have a back-up plan where drivers will park on the other side of the airport, which has room for 6,000 vehicles all on pavement.

RELATED: Dayton Air Show forecast

“I’m just sure we’re going to have a much smoother time than we did last year. We’ve got a great plan. It’s a thorough plan. And lots of buses, that’s the big thing. They have to be able to move a lot of people in a very short amount of time,” said Doctor. 

Additionally, electronic signs will reflect any changes to the Dayton Air Show, but so far the lots are in good shape.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

Trending - Most Read Stories

RTA offers express shuttle service to Dayton Air Show

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 1:50 AM

The Greater Dayton RTA will provide transport to the Vectren Dayton Air Show this weekend.

Air conditioned buses will run an express shuttle service on a continuous loop from the U.S. Air Force Museum parking lot and Wright Stop Plaza directly to the air show's main gate. 

>>Dayton Air Show forecast

The park-and-ride service will run Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Shuttles will leave from each location approximately every 10 minutes. 

Cost for a round-trip ride is $3, children five and under are free. Cash is the only payment method accepted. 

The regular fare structure applies from the downtown Wright Stop Plaza location. 

For more information, call 937-425-8300 or visit

Trending - Most Read Stories

Storms to weaken, taper off tonight

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:34 AM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 11:00 PM

Some rain is expected at times this weekend in the Dayton area, which could have an impact on the Vectren Dayton Air Show.


  • Mild for the weekend 
  • Isolated flooding and damaging winds possible
  • Few showers and storms into the evening

>> LISTEN: Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans 


Tonight: While a few showers may linger overnight, for the most part the rain should taper off. More dry time is expected as temperatures drop into the middle 60s.

>> LIVE Doppler 7 Interactive HD Radar

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

>> Moon and Jupiter expected to be close for the weekend

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, mild and still a little muggy with the chance of a few passing showers or isolated storm. A little bit of a breezy afternoon with temperatures in the upper 70s. Some breaks in the clouds Saturday night with temperatures dropping into the lower 60s.

>> WHIO Weather App

Sunday: Partly sunny and warm with the slight chance of a passing shower. Most of the area will remain dry with highs in the lower 80s.

>> County-by-County Weather 

Monday: Mostly sunny and comfortable. Temperatures rise into the lower 80s.

>> 5-Day Forecast

Tuesday: Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs in the middle 80s.

Wednesday: Partly sunny skies with showers and a few storms developing. A warm and muggy day with temperatures climbing into the upper 80s.

Trending - Most Read Stories