July 1, 2012
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.
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MY ROLE:Client Served