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45 Reviews
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July 19, 2011

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July 19, 2011

My son has autism, and Patty brought a beautiful soul into our lives in the form of a NorthStar golden retriever. In just a few days the puppy has had a positive effect on our son, and we are very excited to see what the coming years will bring for them together. We haven't started the training yet, but are excited to get going so our boy can reap the full benefit from his furry partner. Thank you NorthStar and Patty!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Working with Patty from NorthStar to find a great dog to help my son.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I beieve Patty is doing a great job.

June 5, 2014

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June 5, 2014

I was curious how this organization was doing and now I see that the truth is finally coming out. I’m a professional trainer that was contracted to work with a family that received a dog from this organization. To start with this dog was not of the caliber of”service animal” which is what the family was expecting. I voiced concerns several times, but it all fell on deaf ears. Communication over this year period was horrible for all parties involved, the family and myself. Patty is over defensive and looks to blame instead of looking for solutions. It was truly a heart breaking situation to see the thousands of dollars the family had invested into a subpar dog. We even had an external second opinion and that trainer too felt this dog was not right for service or even therapy dog work. Most of the training I did was correcting behavior issues instead of focusing on tasks to help the child. In the end I was owed over $1000 for training services and still have not received any compensation. I felt so bad for the family that I volunteered to train a different dog for them when the time is right. Oh and at the last APDT (dog training) conference by chance I overheard another trainer that was talking about how she was yet to be compensated for training a North Star Dog. Hmm there is a theme here… Maybe Patty’s heart is in the right place, but the organization itself is completely mismanaged and in the end the children are missing out and the families are broke.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

They need a full time director of training that is qualified through college courses and certifications. They need proper screening of potential puppies and not to relay on the word of the breeders. Better communication with families and trainers. A better insurance policy for when things don’t work out. Complete restructuring of the organization.

More feedback...

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Badly

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

Will you recommend this organization to others?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

May 30, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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May 30, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

As a former volunteer trainer for Northstar, and I say volunteer only because I never received payment for my services as promised by Patty. It is very sad that Patty is your best friend and supporter until one questions her or corrects her misdirected attempts at training a service animal.

I'm the first to tell you it is true a service dog can create miracles in the lives of children on the autism spectrum. Northstar & Patty is NOT the agency you want to partner with. You can read in her responses to any criticism against her or Northstar the level of un-professionalism in the tone of her reply.

Northstar Dogs are pawned off to unqualified puppy trainers who end up paying for all expenses for the puppy including vet bills. Then at 12 to 14 months old they are turned over to the family with no support or training prior to the placement or post placement. Then trainers like myself are hired at half what we normally charge out of the kindness of our hearts, to be stiffed by Patty.

Another lie is that Patty does all the work she does for her families free of charge and without salary. That is a total lie! Patty pockets the majority of every dollar Northstar receives and makes countless excuses to her vendors as to why she cannot pay them on-time, if at all.

PLEASE Do your homework and think very carefully when making the decision to purchase a service dog from Norhtstar. You will not get what you are promised and will end up with a very expensive family pet.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

abolish it!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 6, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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October 6, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

amd180

I am an extremely honest and precise person (and am often told a very much: over trusting individual) so I beg Ms. Dobbs-Gross (Patty), do not call me liar (as you have others) as you will only be making yourself look more desperate. I have written documentation to support every
aspect of my experience with the North Star Foundation.

I wrote to the Foundation to request that I be accepted to foster/ train a pup for the autistic spectrum child. Months went by-then in March I was contacted by Patty's assistant to accept a pup (standard poodle) to foster/ train. The Foundation did not vet me at all-almost sounded relieved when I said yes. There was appropriate communication - initially then things began to fall apart. I am reassured by Patty that she will communicate with the family etc. (unfortunately the family, like me was just left on our own devices).

When the pup was dropped off, he was nervous for awhile but turned out to be a very smart, brave dog and when exposed to children was a little skittish but after exposure warmed and was very tolerant. (So, I do not know of the breeding program, my experience with the pup was quite good) However, early on he became quite ill, they did not tell me about his eating habits, inhaling food was brought to a whole new level...he ate so fast he got aspiration pneumonia. This is where the problems began....I did not mind paying for food and other necessities but the vet bill came at $3500.00 (I paid) because I was told I would be reimbursed by the end of the week....first lie. Patty told me how poor the Foundation was at this time, so for payment of the vet bill I donated my stipend...did no good.

Expenses (on my part) and excuses on hers continued -

There was quite the rush to remove the pup from my care-I truly think they misjudged me and felt I would not release the pup... (I wish I had not-see email below-)

Her excuses continued...pups dying, hard to raise funds, having to pay her assistant and airfare for her assistant, my pup and possibly one other person.... (I won't wax on this-as it falls in line with the other reviews regarding lack of contact etc.) She tends to contact a person only if she needs something; how sad, a good idea gone so bad.

Here is the content of my last email (SURPRISE I STILL HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING)-next stop-most likely a lawyer...


"Hi,

On September 5th you wrote "I am attending a fundraiser on Sunday and will earmark a portion of the proceeds to go to you to reimburse * vet bill...I will be sure to stay on top of our payment schedule."

First off we never discussed a payment schedule- second what happened to the proceeds of the fundraiser?

Please do not inform me of all of the hardships of new litters and their expense, having to pay other puppy raisers (ESPECIALLY since I donated MY stipend to the Foundation) or other difficulties you or the Foundation has, as I have my own and in no small part due to the Foundation's lack of responsibility to me.

I have let you know my... I took excellent care of **the pup** - in good faith-and let him go to his new home for **the child's** sake. I feel that **the pup** was the only leverage I had in recouping my costs but did not want to punish **the child** for the Foundation's failures. Well, I see 'no good deed comes unpunished'.

Please let me know what I can expect.

Best..."

** I did not want to give identification to the child so I replaced the words**

Final amount owed: $4012.03

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Replace Ms. Gross, the Board, fiscal and marketing management

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 15, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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March 15, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Patty, you should not be surprised by the review written by RichL3399. I read at least two other ones along the same lines and my experience with you and North Star is similar although not quite as intense. I am surprised that you do not remove the negative ones from your site and only leave the "glowing" testimonials. If you take exception to this comment please explain your ineptness and absence of direct and on point answers to direct and on point questions. I have a number of those I could quote but it would be a waste of time. Too bad zero stars rating is not an option.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 2, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

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March 2, 2013
2 people found this review helpful

I am a long time dog trainer and pet professional. I was asked by North Star to foster a dog for a family. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I saw the web site and eagerly awaited the day I would foster the dog. I had already fostered for another agency so I couldn't wait for the training I was told I would receive for my new foster dog. After recieving my dog, I was literally alone. There was NO training, NO support, and honestly NO knowledge from Patti Gross whom I had spoken with only once. I was on my own for vet bills, dog food, even heartworm medicine. Worst of all, there was absolutely NO training for me and when I called, and called, and called, I finally was told that it would all be forthcoming. Another lie. The dog that North Star had given me was fearful and had even growled at a small child who was not even touching the dog, and when I told Patti Gross that I did not trust this dog to be placed with a child, she told me to make it work because the dog had already been "sold" to a family. I was absolutely floored! Shortly after, I met anotehr foster who was also attempting to communicate with North Star, Same story, This woman has absolutely NO CLUE how to raise or train a dog. She is the mother of an autistic child. She is not in any way even a barely competent dog trainer...she is a scam artist. The other foster home complained that the dog they had been given was also fearful and unstable and they felt that it should not be around small children. After reading a few reviews from parents, and learning that PAtti Gross breeds dogs in her basement, without even AKC papers at a bare minimum, I am even more outraged. You are breeding dogs with epilepsy, diabetes, and dysplastic hips. I was so disgusted by this experience that I have now decided to train to become a certified canine behaviorit and certified service dog trainer at a New Jersey based non-profit, that gives free service dogs, not charging families $10,000 or more, for something that is not only unstable, or downrighgt dangerous. This otehr agency does not charge parents, and does not even allow families to demean themselves by begging, I mean fundraising, so that the CEP can get a salary. And really, North Star CLAIMS to have placed only 100 dogs in 10 years? That's only 10 dogs per year. That's small potatoes. And, if the dog I fostered and the one the other family fostered are any indication of the quality of those 100 supposed service dogs Patti Gross claims to have placed, North Star is either just an inept group, or downright scammers. The non-profit I am now hoping to work with has placed hundreds and hundreds of service dogs, and has an amazing foster trainnig program, one that is taught by one of the top dog behaviorists in the country. Novel idea, a service dog actually being trained by a professional dog trainer. PLEASE do your homework and don't give ANYONE your money or your trust until you see results. North Star is not the only inept one out there either...unfortunately, many of these agencies do not even have a basic knowledge of canine behavior. And sorry Patti, being a mother of one special needs child does NOT make you an expert on anything. How much salary do you take per year from your 10 "service dogs" placed by a "team of North Star professionals"? It is so sad that so many families are being scammed by you. I wonder who really wrotethose positive reviews too, since I have not heard a single good thing about this group from a parent or foster. Please do your homework if you are looking for a service dog. Please stay away from this woman. She doesn't even return calls unless you are giving her $10,000 dollars. After that, you'll never hear from her again. So sad. So evil. Why can't I give North Star 0 stars. The minimum is still one star. They don't even deserve that.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 26, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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October 26, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

Our NS dog was for our son with Aspergers. The dog was diagnosed with Epilepsy and Diabetes at 1 year old. North Star never paid for the first year of routine vet bills (per the contract), didn't pay the bill for our dog's specialist evaluation at 1 year and absolved themselves of anything to do with our dog, our son and our situation. $5,000 is A LOT of money to pay and have an organization have no responsibility for the outcome. NS refused to supply us with another dog, refused to pay any bills, and stopped replying to emails. Look elsewhere for help and have a lawyer if you go with NS.

More feedback...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

July 1, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

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July 1, 2012
2 people found this review helpful

I was searching the internet for a non-profit that would help my daughter get a service dog. She is 5 years old and has been diagnosed with autism. We feel like there is a lot of hope for our daughter, if only things would fall into place for her. She is non-verbal, but passionately speaks her own language. It's this passion and drive that we love in her! I found North Star's website and it stood out to me. Patty's ideas about service dog placements fascinated me because they are unique. We absolutely did not want a service dog that had been trained with convicts in a prison. We also did not want to wait 2-3 years for a placement. Precious time would have passed in our daughter's life. I contacted Patty and eventually she got back to me. I spoke to her for quite some time in a phone call and I really felt that she understood how badly we want to help our daughter. We were willing to do whatever it took to help her get a dog, but we couldn't do it on our own. Amazingly, we were able to to raise the $5,000 (our half of the cost) through very generous friends and coworkers. A couple months later, we met Buzz at the airport. Buzz is a gorgeous Labradoodle. He is incredibly sweet and well trained. At this point in our lives we do not own a home with a yard, so raising a puppy would have been very difficult. Buzz came with advanced training because he is 2 years old. Patty connected us to CaliPals, which is an organization that raises service dogs and trained pets. Patty has paid for everything she said she would and we have never felt neglected. Our daughter loves Buzz and calls him "Bunny." She changes her "z's" to "n's." Buzz has helped her make friends with a set of triplets. She has started talking more and is even making great strides in writing. He hasn't magically fixed her, but that's not what we expected. I think he makes her feel safe. He follows all of us around our home and likes to lay in our laps. He has made all of us so happy. He is like our second child. It's hard to have a bad day when we see Buzzy and our daughter playing quietly together. I think we made a very good choice to go through North Star. I would highly recommend working with Patty.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Provide Patty with more resources to make even more placements.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 28, 2012

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1 previous review
April 15, 2011

I have had the privilege of being a North Star volunteer puppy raiser for almost four years. During that time I've raised/ co-raised eight puppies. Two of these dogs are working as Therapy Dogs doin... more

June 28, 2012

I have had the privilege of being a North Star volunteer puppy raiser for almost five years. During that time I've raised/ co-raised nine puppies.
I have been able to see first hand the amazing benefits that these puppies bring to their children and their families. Receiving a puppy from North
Star provides the whole family an opportunity to work together, with North Star 's help, to make a better life for their child.

North Star believes in placing the assistance dog with the child as early as possible so that the child and puppy can form an early bond. Patty does everything possible to ensure a successful placement before, during and after the pup is placed with the family.

North Star brings people together in so many ways. Each puppy influences so many people.

North Star provides puppy raisers with the training and support necessary for a positive volunteer experience. North Star volunteers are very dedicated and work well together providing back up for each other, exhanging ideas and sometimes sharing the puppy raising.

During the past five years my mom had to go to a nursing home. I've been able to take my own North Star Therapy dog, Lola, and many of the puppies to visit. These visits provide the pups with early socialization in public and at the same time provide the nursing home residents, staff and families the pleasure of spending some time with a puppy. Lola is my constant companion and the most wonderful Therapy Dog ever!!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching the puppy and child for a bond.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hope that they would have the recources to make more placements.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

attract more volunteers who are willing and able to fund raise!!

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I've learned to be a better trainer and I have become more social. I am also more aware of the hardships that famies with children with challenges must endure.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Happy!

April 15, 2011

I have had the privilege of being a North Star volunteer puppy raiser for almost four years. During that time I've raised/ co-raised eight puppies.

Two of these dogs are working as Therapy Dogs doing nursing home visits and school visits. The other six have been placed with children with
developmental disabilities.

North Star believes in placing the assistance dog with the child as early as possible so that the child and puppy can form an early bond. Whenever possible, the puppy raiser and the family work together to ensure that the puppy has the best upbringing to suit that particular child.

I've met wonderful families (in person and via email) and become more aware of the challenges they and their children face. I've been able to see first hand the positive effects a North Star dog has on the child and family right from the start.

North Star brings people together in so many ways. Each puppy influences so many people.

North Star provides puppy raisers with the training and support necessary for a positive volunteer experience. North Star volunteers are very dedicated and work well together providing back up for each other, exhanging ideas and sometimes sharing the puppy raising.

During the past four years my mom had to leave her home and go to live in a nursing home. I've been able to take the puppies to visit her. These visits provide the pups with early socialization in public and at the same time provide the nursing home residents, staff and families the pleasure of spending some time with a puppy. Bringing a puppy along makes everything better!!

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing first hand how a North Star dog helps a child to communicate more easily, to develop empathy, become more social and less anxious, become more independent.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the number of placements. To do this North Star will need more funding and more volunteers.

June 27, 2012

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June 27, 2012

Working with Patty and Ron and North Star Foundation has been an incredible experience for our whole family. Our youngest son Matthew, who is now 12 years old, has aspergers and retinitis pigmentosa. He is legally blind and only has 15 degrees of central vision; no peripheral vision. We thought Matthew would really benefit from having a North Star dog. The main thing is that we needed a dog, who might get stepped on occasionally or tripped over, that wouldn't take it personally and would still love him and want to be around him to play. Well, we got Nellie from North Star Foundation in Februray of 2010. She is a calm, loving yellow lab that gives Matthew and our family all the love we need. And, we love her back. Nellie is the perfect addtion to our family!

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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