Thursday, April 16, 2009

Looking North

One of the great things about life is the connection we make with people when we are open to the possibilities. About five or six years ago, we were raising puppies for the Seeing Eye (one of my dreams I had as kid was to work for the Seeing Eye). We had just finished training our third Seeing Eye puppy, and were not looking to train a puppy for that long of a period. One night, I was on the phone with a dear friend, Connie, who had raised more than 60 puppies for the Seeing Eye. Connie told me about a brand new program called Northstar Foundation. Northstar places puppies in homes with young children with autism, and needs puppy raisers to help with the early training of the pups. Intrigued, I emailed Patty Dobbs Gross, and inquired about her program, and tentatively suggested that perhaps we could help.

Less than one week later I received a phone call from another Seeing Eye friend. Connie had died that day. Stunned by the loss of this amazing woman, I knew that we needed to go ahead and pursue our work with Northstar, to honor Connie's memory. Since then, we have raised three Northstar puppies. Sully, Nora, and Lily are all living in their homes and helping three very special little boys. We consider these families part of our extended families, and we love to get updates and pictures of these special animals who help their kids 'find their way'.

About two weeks ago, our pediatrician's office contacted us and asked me to reach out to a family who was interested in getting a puppy for their son who has autism. I gave her Patty's information at Northstar, and decided to touch base with Patty and see how everything was going. And the rest, as they say, is history. In a few weeks we will receive an eight week old Golden pup to raise for a few months until it is ready to go to its family. Because the family lives nearby, we can visit with them, let the little boy meet and begin to bond, and then transfer homes. When Patty and I were emailing and she 'suggested' we raise this puppy for the local family. I told her I would discuss it with Matt. As I told her later: "One of these days either Matt or I would have to say 'NO"...but not today!"

If you want to find out more about Northstar, go to If you go to their 'Contact Us' page, you will see our Lily on that page! They are a non-profit foundation, and as any other foundation, need help from all of us to continue.

How cute is that pup?

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