I applied for a mobility dog a year ago. I've been waiting with little to no communication from NHSD for a long long year now. I get an email that a dog has been found for me and I need to have an interview. I go to the interview (a second time). My appt. was at 2pm. My daughter drove me with her two young children. I cannot drive and she had to take off work to take me. We didn't expect to be long. However, I waited over half an hour in the home before Janice came in to interview me. I waited another 20 minutes while someone prepared her lunch. She received and ate her lunch, (remember, my grandchildren are waiting out in the car, in the heat, and they haven't eaten either). Janice finally gets around to asking me questions that I had already answered in a previous interview there shortly after I had filed my application almost a year before. One of the questions was what I needed a service dog to do for me. I answered that I could possibly need help moving a non-electric wheelchair, picking up things I had dropped, and a counterbalance when I walk as I tend to go sideways and fall down, also help getting back to my feet should I fall. I was told that I would need a large dog for my needs and it would probably have to be a male. I was fine with that. I was told I would need a home check, but no one ever followed that up.
I was contacted about the graduation, and interview and RSVP card. I was so excited. I sent out invites to my family and close friends to see who might be attending. I got an email asking for food donations for the graduation and signed up for one. Later, I get another email stating that classes will be starting on the 13th of June. I got a paper with 3 hotels and phone numbers, but nothing telling me which hotel to go to. The morning of the class, after looking through all the paperwork and saved emails, I realized I did not have that info and called the number given for NHSD, leaving a message. No one returned my call. I did not know how to get there and it was getting late so I called the emergency number, since we had been told to make it to ALL classes, no exceptions. I didn't want to miss the class. A sleepy Janice answered the phone and told me where to go, which, by the way, I had called directly and was told there were no service dog classes being held there!
I got to the class on time and was called out in front of everyone for calling her at 7am, (it was more like 8am), and made a fool of. I really liked most of the people in the class and though it was intense, I enjoyed being there even though I had been ridiculed in front of everyone.
We were told that dogs were available for everyone but that they would not be brought until the next day. We were all disappointed because we were so excited to meet our dogs. We filled out some more paperwork and went through notebooks which were handed out to us. We were given lessons and words to study for a test the next day. I stayed for the entire class, all day long.
At one point during the class, I overheard one of the helpers tell Janice that one of the dogs had not been brought up and the class would be short a dog. Janice said it would be okay.
After the class was over Janice tells me she needs to do the home check and should be by sometime that evening. No time was given. She asked if I had a fenced yard and I told her that it was partially fenced but never finished. I had paid a friend $200, plus purchased fencing and posts to put up the fence. My husband was supposed to finish by putting the gates up, but he didn't get the time to do it. At my interview, I told Janice that I had a fence up that was never finished and that the dog would never be out off lead until it was finished. After the interview I had it torn down because it wasn't secure enough for my liking. I had that one torn down when my friend came and he put up the newer, stronger, more secure one. My husband was supposed to put the gates up, but never got to it.
Janice showed up to my house about 3 hours after class with Linda. Linda asked if she could use the bathroom. She said Janice could not go into the house because her wheelchair would not go over the short lip under my door. I left Linda in the bathroom and I went outside to speak with Janice. She mentioned the gates weren't up, then told me she didn't think I qualified for a dog. She said she would discuss it with the others and then would let me know via phone call that night.
I made Q cards and studied my paperwork for the test the next day, not knowing if I would be in class or not. She finally called and told me I could not get the dog because I had not finished the gates as I should have.
When my husband came home, he found me crying. I was both furious and heart broken. He went outside and finished the fence for me. He was outside until after 12:30am and had to get up at 6am to go to work the next day. He also wrote a letter to Janice apologizing for not getting it done and telling her it was his fault. He took photos of the work he had done and emailed them to NHSD.
The next day I was planning to stay home. I had not heard from anyone and just assumed I was screwed. My daughter showed up and told me that her father had told her to come and get me and take me to the class, that he had done what was required and they should let me stay at the class. My daughter said she would talk to Janice about me being in the class so that I did not have to stand around waiting.
Janice finally showed up in her fully handicapped high top van with electronic ramp, etc. My daughter went out to speak to her. She said they had received the info from my husband, but I still couldn't have a dog because I didn't do it when I was supposed to. Besides, she was concerned about my rescued female boxer causing issues with the service dog. My daughter already told me she wanted my boxer since she was so good with her children and told Janice that she would take the dog. Janice then said my house was too small to have a service dog. My daughter told her that I deep the house tight as I have things to hold on to when I walk around. She told her that the dog was needed for when I go out to church, shopping, out in public, etc. The dog would still be useful in helping me picking up stuff I dropped, etc. Janice then said I wanted the dog to pull my wheelchair and to lean on and a dog was not capable of doing what I needed it to do. (Why wait until now to say that???) Then some woman that was out there with them piped in, "Yeah, and some people just never have enough, they always want more!) My daughter wasn't sure what that was about, but I'm assuming it's due to my cluttered home. I lost my mother and my father in the past couple of years and got a house full of stuff. I have not been able to give up most of it, but am slowly but surely getting it cleaned out. I am only guessing that is what she meant by that but I really don't know.
Anyway, my daughter had a response to everything she said, then she claimed I didn't have the $3000 required to get a dog. I was never told about that! I was told I would need $400-500 for dog supplies such as vest, harness, leash, etc. I came with $800 in my pocket for that purpose. She said she had contacted my vet and they said I hadn't been there in 2 years. That is because I sold my young chihuahua and placed my wolf dog so that I could have the service dog. I only had my old 16 yr old chihuahua that I take to shot clinics and treat myself now. I've got her on Ivermec for HW instead of HeartGard. My boxer is a rescue I've only had a few months. I paid $100 to rescue her and then paid to have her spayed and fully vetted. A year or so ago my chihuahua was attacked by a dog I had rescued and lost an eye. That was the last time she went to an actual vet. I paid him over $400 to remove the eye. I came up with the money to have her emergency taken care of. Janice told my daughter that I would need $3000 in a special savings account for the dog in case of an emergency and since I didn't have it, I couldn't have a dog. My daughter told her that if anything were to happen to the dog and I didn't have the money, that she and my brother would get the money together, that they would not let anything happen to the dog. Janice blew her off and my daughter asked her if you don't get a dog unless you have money or are rich? You can't get a dog if you are living on disability and only get $600 a month? She got so angry that she came back to the car, "before she punched someone in the face." She was livid.
Something is very not right about this entire situation. If they didn't think I needed a dog, why did they make me wait so long and jump through all the hoops? I waited a year for that dog! I could have been looking elsewhere for a dog if I had known they were going to snatch him away from me this way. Why send me graduation announcements, make me go to the class, waste all my time at interviews and classes? What is wrong with these idiots? None of this makes any sense to me and it seems and feels as if I was put off because someone decided they don't like me or something. Not only do I miss out on this dog, but now I will be compromised getting a dog elsewhere as most applications ask if you have been refused by any other organization!
Janice knew she wasn't going to give me the dog the day of the class. She said the dog was to be brought up from south Florida for me and she told them not to bring him. That was BEFORE she even went to my home. But she still made me go to an 8 hour class and sit there for nothing!
This is the most poorly run bunch of cockamamie BS I've ever been involved in. I've never been treated so rudely as by Janice the day of the interview, while she sat there eating her lunch in front of me without even asking if I wanted so much as a glass of water. Just pure rudeness and lack of any concern about anyone but herself! She showed nothing but very poor form all the way around.
I feel like reporting them to the people who have donated to them. They don't deserve the donations they get. However, I wouldn't want to hurt those other people who also need these dogs. I do hope other people are not treated as poorly as I was and that they get their dogs and get the help they need. No one deserves to be treated like they treated me. No one.
I'm writing again because I was called upon this week to bring my dog to a veterans hospital in St. Petersburg. A worker, a volunteer, a vet who is getting a dog in 2 weeks and myself went to Bay Pines VA hospital to show vets what New Horizons could offer them. These dogs are free to the recipients. My dog Vinny helps me in many ways, from removing my shoes to lifting my legs in bed. People at the VA wanted to see Vinny remove my shoes, which he did perfectly. Please donate to this worthwhile organization. It is a matter of life and death to those of us who really need these dogs. Without your donations, they can not survive. Thank you. Tina
I have primary progressive multple sclerosis which leaves me weelchair bound. I received my first service dog in Nov. 2012 from New Horizons. This dog is a beautiful 84 lb. Golden. Janet, Patti and Steve were my teachers and trainers. Janet runs the company and she is fuly functioning quad. These dogs are given to us free of charge with your donations.
My experience in training was very hard, but satisfying. They are letting me return to have Vinny trained to lift my legs.
This company is extremely professsional and well managed. Plese donate! In my class was a mom with a child that was atistic, another MS patient, cebral palsy, a man with a stroke, PTSD, and an elderly woman that neded stregth from her dog.
Without your donations, this group would not exist. Please help. Thank you, Tina
Review from Guidestar