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ASSISTANCE DOGS OF AMERICA INC
April 18, 2011

In 2003 my wife Karen was looking for a volunteer opportunity and visited ADAI for a class they were holding. At the class they had some of their dogs there including a beautiful 3 month old yellow lab named Chase. I think the trainers knew what they were doing because they let Karen hold Chase in her lap for the whole meeting. When she came home she told me how nice the meeting went and about the puppy. She said it was unfortunate that we were so busy and already had a Lab of our own or she would think about being a foster. She said she liked the organization and planned on volunteering in other capacities. A few weeks later at dinner she said one of the trainers had called her and told her that she seemed to have made a bond with Chase and that he was still available for Fostering. She knew I loved dogs, but I was not really keen about having a second dog right now. That is when I found out how serious she was. She said she would CLEAN UP ALL THE POOP FOR BOTH DOGS. I reluctantly agreed to meet the dog and she knew that was all it would take. Chase was a bit of a handful as a puppy, but with the help of the trainers Karen learned as much as he did. At the end of his two year training he had turned into a wonderful service dog and it was very hard to let him go. The only thing that got us thru it was watching the recipients bond with their new dogs and seeing that they not only received some of the physical help they needed, but a new best friend. It is truly amazing the difference the unconditional love from a dog can make to a person who needs it.
Over the past years we fostered many dogs (when I say we Karen did all the work and I had fun with them). Karen became more and more involved with the organization, helping with fund raisers, graduations, community events and more. Karen truly loved working with ADAI and the friends she made (both two and four legged).
In April of 2010 Karen was diagnosed with Lung Cancer which had spread to her brain. She had always been very healthy and it was much unexpected. It was at this time she found out once again she was not just there for ADAI, but the wonderful staff and volunteers of ADAI where there for her. They visited, sent cards, brought food, picked her up to go to the facility when she was able and much much more.
Karen would be the one writing this letter to tell you how great ADAI truly is, however she passed away on November 12, 2010. When you read this you will certainly see that writing is not something I normally do (you are lucky I at least have spell check) . It was one of the hardest letters I have ever written. It is also very important for people to know how much this organization helps people with disabilities to make their lives a little bit less challenging and happier.
ADAI has continued to offer me their kindness and support since Karen’s death and I hope that I can pay some of that back. Any support you can provide for this organization will be well used and appreciated.

Sincerely,
Rick Gallaway

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MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Fosterd dog thru first two years of training.