North Star Foundation

Rating: 4.31 stars   45 reviews

Issues:

Location: 20 Deerfield Ln Storrs CT 06268 USA

Mission: North Star Foundation was formed to help children who have developmental differences such as autism, or who must face challenges such as the loss of a parent, through the use of a specially bred and trained Assistance Dog. Our mission is to help children reach their social, emotional, and educational goals through the use of Animal-Assisted Therapy. We work with the children's existing therapists to help them incorporate their North Star dog into a child's therapeutic program. We travel to childrens' schools to present a program to their peers that promotes tolerance and understanding, as we believe there is no better way to teach tolerance than through the avenue of an Assistance Dog that is trained to help. We also work with children's families, teaching them how to use their North Star Dog to help smooth transitions and soothe anxiety for everybody on the homefront.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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.

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.

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

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The North Star Foundation, lead by Patty Gross, is the one of the oldest service dog organizations for children with autism and other disabilities. Patty has worked very hard to establish an outstanding line of golden retrievers to perform this work and has established herself as an authority in the use of service dogs for children and their families.

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

Very Well

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

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

About 7 years ago, I first heard about North Star. As a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with kids on the autism spectrum and someone who has worked with various service dog organizations as a puppy raiser, it was a perfect fit and I was able to raise a puppy for a child with autism! I was very, very impressed with all North Star does for the families it works with.

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

The family I raised the puppy for! The puppy changed all of their lives in many ways. The dog helped the mother and siblings as well as the child with autism by providing them all with unconditional love and acceptance. He (the dog) helped the child with autism become more verbal and more social.

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

give North Star more resources to be able to shorten the waiting list.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

As a professional trainer and canine behavior specialit, I have worked with NorthStar Foundation for a number of years. The staff at NorthStar are dedicated to training dogs and placing them into homes with children with autism. This is a wonderful cause. I have seen children utter their first words because of contact with their service dogs. I have seen children reach out to others in ways they never have before because of the presence of these wonderful dogs.

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

The positive impact their canine placements have in families with children with autism is enormous. These dogs not only support the affected child, but bring a level of connection with all family members, bringing the family closer together with a common bond - their beloved pet.

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

Find ways to increase the number of placements that can be made.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I am an animal behavior consultant involved in a partnership with North Star Foundation and a Veterans Administration program in Washington state to train and place emotional assistance dogs with veterans who have PTSD, traumatic brain injuries or other mental or emotional wounds. North Star Foundation raises and provides training for the outstanding canines involved in this project, who then arrive in the Seattle area for more advanced public access training with me. The North Star dogs are exceptional for this type of team work because of their sensitive and reliable nature. North Star is an enthusiastic and valued member of this effort to support veteran reintegration into their community.

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

The quality of the North Star Foundation dogs is what makes this program such a success. I have witnessed how a partnership with a North Star dog can transform a veteran's life and make it possible for him to overcome anxieties, deal with night terrors and find the courage to face his fears.

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

I highly recommend North Star Foundation for families or individuals who seek emotional support or organizations that want to make a difference in someone's life.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I am Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center. I met Patty and The North Star Foundation through a colleague. I adopted a dog from Patty, to train as a therapy dog for my patients. There is a lot of medical literature on the benefits of a therapy dog. When it comes to therapy dogs North Star is the best. North Star Foundation’s work is incredibly important. I recommended North Star Foundation without any reservations.

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

my practice and my home

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

Ask north start to consider therapy dogs not just for Autism but depression also

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

Quite well

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

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Likely

What is unique about this organization?

Very people friendly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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