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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.

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 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

June 25, 2012

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June 25, 2012

North Star Foundation assisted us in acquiring a therapy dog for our son who has autism. They were very easy to work with and we have had a wonderful experience integrating a service dog into our home. The dog has assisted our son by decreasing stress and providing emotional support, but he also is learning to track and perform other tasks to assist our son.

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 21, 2012

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June 21, 2012

North Star foundation changed my family's life!!! My son has autism and we received Bailey our therapy dog when my son was 8. She brought him back once when he wandered off and stopped him from wandering once too. Priceless! Along with the unconditional love she gives all of us, the peace of mind she creates in our home and her beautiful sole our lives have been forever blessed. Words can not express what Bailey means to us and how wonderful North Star Foundation is!!!

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 20, 2012

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1 previous review
April 15, 2011

We began our relationship with Patty and North Star in early 2008. As a Mom of a child with Asperger's, I hoped adding a North Star dog to our family would help our son see the world around him; to l... more

June 20, 2012

Our relationship with North Star began in 2008; it was a few months after our son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (on the autism spectrum). Patty believed adding a North Star dog to our family would help our son with his social and emotional challenges. How right she was! We added Radar to our family and the changes started to happen. It was subtle at first. Some eye contact here, a brief word to strangers who approached us while out in public there. Then one day, without prompting, our son took the lead in speaking to strangers who approached. Despite me backing off a few yards away, he continued to speak to these ladies on his own for more than ten minutes. How far he's come! My initial goal with out North Star dog placement was for our son to "live in the moment"; to notice the world around him. This goal was met years ago and our placement has far exceeded our expectations. I have, on several occasions, recommended North Star to people for a variety of reasons. I keep a stack of North Star pamphlets at home and have distributed them when I've felt someone might benefit from their services.

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

April 15, 2011

We began our relationship with Patty and North Star in early 2008. As a Mom of a child with Asperger's, I hoped adding a North Star dog to our family would help our son see the world around him; to live in the moment. Having Radar join our family has done that and so much more! This placement has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Just recently, not only did Jason (our son with AS) talk to strangers about what his dog provides for him but he continued to speak to the strangers despite me walking away. This was a huge step forward and not something that had ever happened. Having Radar there gives Jason a certain level of confidence. He knows people find his dog really cool and Jason doesn't miss an opportunity to educate the public! We have recently become even more involved with Patty and North Star by puppy-raising. It was a wonderful learning experience and a labor of love. Patty is always available to her families (both those who have received dogs and those raising puppies for other families) as a valuable resource and wealth of information. She personally answered my many questions without ever making feel inadequate. This work North Star is doing is so important. I only wish more rescources were available to them; they could help so many more families like ours!

The Great!

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

YES!

Ways to make it better...

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

Find a way to recruit more volunteers and find ways to raise more funds as this is everyone's biggest obstacle.

April 3, 2012
5 people found this review helpful

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April 3, 2012
5 people found this review helpful

We originally posted a positive review of NorthStar within hours of receiving our puppy. Since then we have been consistently disappointed by NorthStar and Patty Dobbs-Gross. Let’s start at the beginning: after some emails and phone calls between our family and Patty, she offered us a dog for which “the adoption had just fallen through.” When we visited NorthStar in Storrs, CT, we were appalled by the conditions: the house was filthy, the kitchen where we first met the dog was not fit for human use, and a litter of puppies was penned into a makeshift plywood enclosure in the garage. We understood from Patty that her autism dogs were part of a special program intended to bring out “forgiveness,” which was managed reputable breeders. On the second visit, we left with the puppy, a used cage, some paperwork, and some brochures to share with other ASD families. We paid $5,000 for the dog over two installments—at first we were told the dog, vet care and training cost $10,000 and that we could get her help raising the other $5,000 from family and friends online, but somehow we got the bargain price of $5,000 for this dog that magically was available when we called.

As we settled into life with our autistic seven-year old and a new puppy, working with Patty became frustrating in the extreme. It took multiple calls, voicemails and emails to get her response to simple questions, or movement on promised training support. The dog’s paperwork consisted of a blurry fax of a litter report dated 4/20/2011 with some vaccine stickers taped to it. It was impossible to tell if this was in fact a report for our dog, or for someone else’s entirely. The only place our dog’s name appeared was on the fax coversheet, and even then her name was communicated as something different. The technician at our vet said she had never seen such shoddy paperwork, and as a result we had to repeat the full round of shots supposedly done by NorthStar. To top it all off, the NorthStar credit card that was supposedly on file with our local vet never materialized, and each time we went for checkups or shots or the very expensive spaying procedure, we were literally left with the bill. NorthStar’s lack of attention and follow-through cost us thousands more on top of the initial $5,000 for the dog. In short, our carefully bred super autism dog was actually of unknown pedigree with no useable paperwork or records and a non-responsive partner in the venture. This was not helping our autistic son, but instead causing us to divert our attention away from him to deal with Patty.

A few more annoyances and inconveniences: the first in-home trainer provided by Patty walked off the job with no warning after less than a month’s total training time. We had to pester Patty for weeks to get our dog signed up for good puppy classes, where we met another NorthStar family that had similar complaints. Patty at one point let slip that she bred the puppies herself, presumably in her garage. We repeatedly asked for breeder paperwork and have never received any. The last straw was when our dog was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at six months old. She will require a special diet, medication and more frequent vet visits for the rest of her life, and even more care when her hips start going for good.

Add the financial and time losses to the fact that the dog is supposed to help a child with autism. If you’re reading this, you probably have a child with ASD, and are familiar with the research about the positive effects of dogs on autistic kids. Take it from a family that has suffered through months of aggravation, half-truths and broken promises at NorthStar’s hands: go to a reputable breeder and get a good dog. Get to know the puppy lemon laws in your state, and if they apply to breeders (CT’s apply only to pet stores). In our opinion, NorthStar is fly-by-night at best, and outright fraudulent at worst. Patty Dobbs-Gross was paid $5,000 for a dog any reputable breeder wouldn’t sell for $500, and we got none of the support or training we agreed to in her contract. That contract also clearly states that no refunds will be provided if the relationship between the family and NorthStar ends prematurely. Caveat emptor!

Let this bad experience serve as a warning to anyone who flirts with this organization. Run as fast as you can from NorthStar and don’t look back.

More feedback...

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

A little

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

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

May 22, 2011

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May 22, 2011

I cannot tell you how much Patty and the North Star Foundation has changed our lives for the better. There is nothing like a friendly, polite, well trained North Star dog to bring peace to a family with autism.

Our dog, Sam, has brought so much joy and hope to our family. Sam is so
calm and caring and her demenor really brings a lot to our home. Her presence just completes our family in such a special way.

Please consider donating to North Star so that more children and families can be blessed as we have been.

The Great!

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

by the inhancement of the quality of life of our family unit.

Ways to make it better...

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

I honestly cannot think of any. Keep up the amazing work!

May 20, 2011

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May 20, 2011

Our journey with North Star began in May 2010. Patty has been a real pleasure to work with. She has been so caring, thoughtful and helpful throughout the whole process. She selected the most amazing yellow lab, Rudy for our son, John who has PDD-NOS. Does Patty know how to pick those pups!!! Rudy is an amazing boy. He brings so much love and calmness to our family. I truly can say that we are a happier family now. Our son, John loves his dog so much. They adore each other. Rudy enjoys watching John play with his cars and trains and every now and them will try and join in the play! Since Rudy's arrival, John is talking so much more and loves to tell everyone that this is his dog Rudy. He wants to take Rudy everywhere with him. John looks forward to having his buddy watch him get on the bus and greet him with lots of kisses when he returns home from school.

I am always quick to tell people that North Star is a wonderful organization to work with. The trainers and puppy raisers are so nice and great to work with. I am proud to say that they were all very helpful in the training of our Rudy. He just passed his CGC and I could not have done it without there help and support.

The Great!

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

Great people to work with and so helpful every step of the way.

Ways to make it better...

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

No changes needed. They are a wonderful organization

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