Service Dog Organization Faces Criticism For Sarah Palin’s Step-Stool Dog Fiasco

Sarah Palin’s step-stool dog photos have gone viral, after she used the images, in which her son Trig uses the family pet as a boost to reach the sink, to promote a New Year’s message of overcoming adversity by turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Now, the criticism has expanded to include an organization that Sarah says is directly connected to the dog and its training.

Palin posted in April and in August about the Puppy Jake Foundation’s connection to her new pet, noting that the dog would be training with the foundation and its founder, and later crediting again “our friend in Iowa Becky Beach and her Puppy Jake Foundation, along with Canine Craze in Des Moines.”

The Pupppy Jake Foundation is known for training dogs to be adopted by military families, with an emphasis on wounded vets. Their values, as described on their website, include treating dogs with respect, and ensuring that every dollar donated helps to further their mission of providing wounded vets with animals to improve their lives.

However, in light of Sarah Palin’s New Year’s post, people are asking whether the Puppy Jake Foundation is having success in those two values. There are concerns that donated funds were used to train Sarah’s dog, Jill, who was provided to a high-profile politician, rather than a wounded vet. These concerns, at least, are likely moot, since the Palin family is a supporter of the Puppy Jake Foundation, and their own donations may have covered the cost of the animal and his training. Her fame also brings attention to the organization, which is rarely a bad thing for a charity.

In this case, however, Palin’s fame may be doing the foundation some harm after all. Animal lovers are calling for the Puppy Jake Foundation to openly condemn the use of Palin’s dog as a step-stool, and to answer questions about why the former Alaska Governor was given a dog to begin with, as well as whether her family was fully vetted for animal safety.

So far, the Puppy Jake Foundation has not responded to posts on its social media pages, and an emailed request for further information has not yet been answered. If the foundation responds, an update to this story will be issued at that time.

In the meantime, posters to both Sarah Palin’s Facebook page and the Puppy Jake Foundation’s page say that their posts are being systematically deleted. Several people have stepped up to say that, while they are (or, in some cases, were) Palin supporters, they don’t condone using a dog for a step-stool — and they say that when they posted as much on her Facebook post, their comments were deleted, and they were banned from the page.

Others complain that posts to the PJF page were similarly deleted, though many posts questioning the organization do remain at present.

Does the Puppy Jake Foundation owe the public a statement regarding Sarah Palin’s step-stool dog?