A 'Good Reason' to Say Thanks

BluePath would like to thank our friends at Good Reasons for generously donating a year's supply of treats for our dogs in Formal Training. 

Good Reasons is a locally-owned, not-for-profit dog treat company that creates scrumptious, human-grade all natural dog treats, while providing employment opportunities to people with autism and other developmental disabilities. 

Not only does Good Reasons provide healthy treats for our beloved dogs, they also help individuals touched by autism, and other developmental disabilities, achieve independence by offering jobs in an inclusive, supportive work environment. 

We're proud to partner with a company that shares our passion for creating opportunities for independence.

 Lakota with Good Reasons treats.

Lakota with Good Reasons treats.

BluePath announces new addition in training department!

We are pleased to welcome Maureen Mellett to our training department. Maureen will join forces with Caroline and assist in the training of our dogs in our Formal Training and Dog Placement Programs, as well as support our Foster and Puppy Raising Programs. 

Maureen began her dog training career in 2004 as a guide dog instructor, placing expertly trained dogs with men and women with vision loss.  She then spent seven years working with Caroline McCabe-Sandler training service dogs for children with autism. 

Prior to training dogs, Maureen was a middle school science and math teacher for five years. She worked in a variety of classroom settings including teaching children with special needs and with behavioral challenges.  She received a BA in Biology from Cornell University. Maureen lives in Patterson, NY with her released service dog.  

 Maureen with BluePath Sammy

Maureen with BluePath Sammy

A New Puppy in the House

By Anne Garretson

Mikey arrives and I’m filled with the worry-filled excitement of raising a BluePath puppy whose future is immensely important. Every day dawns another chance for him to learn good manners and gain confidence. We have a whole year to do that. Uh-oh, we ONLY have a year. I don’t want to screw it up! I won’t screw it up.

The big dogs cut him some slack because he’s a baby. He jumps on them, bites their ears, pokes his nose in their bowls the second they inhale their last morsels, all tolerated for now. I cut him some slack, too. Mikey’s good manners will come. I tell myself it’s okay these first couple of weeks that he’s behaving in a way we won’t tolerate a couple of months from now. Each of the big dogs started out just like him and they turned out pretty fabulous.

His joy at the discovery of a shoe I didn’t stow out of his reach gets my attention. In a daze I think, wow, he’s pretty coordinated carrying that from the bedroom to the kitchen. No wait, that’s not his! Don’t chase him, entice him to drop it. Mikey’s accidents in the house are just that. I accidently didn’t take him out in time. I hear chewing… What’s in his mouth this time?? Good pup, it’s a toy. Mikey has arrived and I feel like I’m on a boat rocking on the open sea.

We spend our first weeks together confined to one baby-gated area of the house at a time until Mikey can safely be free from my sight. There’s an order to each day. After breakfast we stay in the kitchen where he and the big dogs have room to play tag and wrestle. They gently teach him to play tug with a toy. I toss a tennis ball to the other side of the room and he puts his instincts for retrieving to work. We move to the bedroom so I can get ready for work. The big dogs know the drill and settle themselves. Mikey plays nicely on his own. After awhile he settles down, too, and watches me.

Later in the day we section ourselves off in the living room. At first it’s just Mikey and me so we can rehearse a few simple commands. We incorporate these sits, downs, here and drop throughout the course of these beginning days together. His repertoire will grow as he does. Then the big dogs come join us for quiet playtime and cuddling while I catch the evening news. He is becoming part of a pack that loves to hang out together. I’m getting to know his body language, he’s paying attention to me and everyday he captures another piece of my heart.

This first part isn’t perfect… it never is.  But I feel lucky – again – to be part of another sweet puppy’s journey to become a partner for a kid who needs him.

 BluePath Mikey (L) with retired autism service dog, Rumba (R).

BluePath Mikey (L) with retired autism service dog, Rumba (R).

Walkathon 2018

The incredible turnout for our second annual walkathon was a true testament to the power of the BluePath community. Despite the torrential rains, more than 250 people joined us to raise funds and awareness - and to celebrate our beautiful blue path.

To everyone who attended the walk, made a contribution, or simply contributed to the positive energy of the day - thank you. Together, we are unlocking life's potential for children and families touched by autism.

Check out photos from the day here. 

We are infinitely grateful for the support of our 2018 sponsors:

PRESENTING:

Croton Lions Club

PLATINUM

A. DeVito & SonAvalonBay CommunitiesCLG ConstructionCo-CommunicationsElite CarriersEmpire BlueCross BlueShieldShrub Oak International School

GOLD

D’Gabby Fine French Restaurant, The Neva and Howard Goldstein Family Charitable Fund, G.S. BounceHudson Valley Men's Adult Baseball LeagueNexGard / HeartgardQuinn Law Firm, Peekskill Rotary ClubState Farm - Ken LemenzeTeam MichelangeloVolz Auto

SILVER

Animal Specialty CenterAu Pair in AmericaCity of Rye Police AssociationCroton Animal Hospital, Decker Tool Rental, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 1042 Ladies Auxiliary, Hudson Financial Group - Deborah BeckerHudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group, J & J Ferraro Real Estate Kolmar Americas Inc.Middletown Veterinary HospitalTaconic Route 202 24 Hour Veterinary CenterThe Westchester Bank

Additional thanks to our course sign sponsors:

Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Club Fit, The Egelsen Family, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Mountain Pass Planning, Middlebranch Veterinary, National Print + Promo, New York Life Insurance Company, North Westchester Vet Office, Pawprints Boutique & Spa, Putnam County Savings Bank, Sarandipty Pet Wear, Set Back Inn, South Putnam Animal Hospital, Taxpert, UMAC - Carmel, UMAC - Shrub Oak, Williams Lumber, Wipe Your Paws
 

And special thanks to:

Auburn Jewelry, Backyard Sports, Gyro Uno Food TruckTarrytown Fire Department

Our Walkathon is SATURDAY!

Our second annual walkathon is THIS SATURDAY!   

The Walkathon will take place in Lot 4.  In the event the lot is full, overflow parking is available in Lot 3.  Upon arrival, be sure to let the FDR Park gate attendants know you're there for the walkathon; parking is free for our supporters. 

Please arrive at 10am for the walk to begin at 10:30, with food, games and fun to follow.  (Note that gluten free items are available.)  

We have two walking options for you: enjoy a 1.7 mile stroll or stretch your legs a bit more on our three mile track.  Friendly dogs are welcome, on leashes 6-ft. long or shorter.  

New this year are Parents' Helpers.  You won't miss them in their lime green tee shirts and they'll be scattered throughout the parking lots and fields.  Borrow one for a few minutes or a few hours - they're there for you!  

Thank you for believing in BluePath's mission; we can't wait to see all of you this weekend.  

(Online registration closes at 8pm on 5/18. Onsite registration is available starting at 10am on 5/19.)

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Two tweens in the house

By Jeannie Fleming-Gifford

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There are two tweens in my house. One just asked me if I had any concealer to cover up a pimple and the other doesn’t have a care in the world about puppy acne. One of my tweens broke down in tears as a molar came loose and was fearful of it falling out. The other tween walks around with a constant smile showing her new adult pearly whites and one last baby tooth on the bottom ready to fall out any day. One of my tweens is growing a bit self-conscious. The other tween loves everyone...maybe too much at times.

A human and a pup. An eleven-year- old child and a 6-month- old dog. Yes, there are two tweens in my house. Though there are differences, they both show strong potential and desire to do good in the world. One’s future career is unknown; the other’s future has been planned since her birth. Izzy’s purpose is to impact the life of a person with autism. Izzy is a BluePath pup.

Izzy came into our lives nearly four months ago. Four months of puppyhood and a quick journey through multiple stages of development, from that teeny tiny new puppy who had just mastered “sit,” to this adult looking dog that can now sit, stay, heel, come, down and more. Her vocabulary and skills grow every day.

Six months old, old enough to listen and respond, but still with so much puppy in her that at times she has a hard time making good choices. Lovable and wanting to be loved, Izzy lights up and grows excited with every person she meets. Individuals recognize her puppyhood and her excitement to say hello. And just like my human job as mother, it’s my job with Izzy to help her use her good manners and all the skills she has gained to greet people appropriately. Not an easy feat when it comes to this 45-pound ball of energy.

The tween “years.” Every day our focus is on enjoying the days of puppyhood. Like when our children are young, the days are long, but the months are short. I know that adulthood and Izzy’s future career as a service dog for a person with autism is growing nearer. My time with her as puppy raiser is growing short. Our days are about refining skills and repeating experiences to build confidence. Days are about new experiences. Days are about patience and trying again. Days are about meeting people with differences and allowing her love all of them. Days are about recognizing the mischief of a puppy and creating learning lessons from each challenge. Days are about playing and cuddling and joyful puppy playtime. All days are about preparing her for her future.

There are two tweens in my house and it is a joy watching both grow.

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Service Dog Training for First Responders

BluePath is proud to offer service dog training for local first responder agencies.  The 1.5 hour course covers ADA guidelines, types of service dogs, strategies for transport and best practices for treating patients with disabilities, with a specific focus on autism.  

It's important for every agency to have a plan of what to do when encountering a service dog in an emergency situation.  Review this brief fact sheet to get started, and contact us to schedule a class.  

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Integrity, dedication and a whole lot of fun

When we founded BluePath, we agreed on a set of principles that would govern the way we operate.  To share just a few... everything we do is grounded in integrity.  We are tremendously dedicated to our mission and do our work with a spirit of collaboration and innovation.  We have a strong sense of camaraderie and we like to have fun. 

It’s that last sentiment that brings us to today’s post.  Our puppy raisers recently challenged us to recreate a photo taken in January 2017.  The original photo shows Caroline, Jody and Michelle holding the Pearl Harbor litter at just six weeks old. 

Challenge accepted.

That said… our puppies have grown, along with our team.  

Even with the best assistance in the world, mass hilarity ensued.  Below are a few of our favorite moments. 

 The original photo: Caroline, Jody and Michelle with JP, Sammy, Pearl, Miller and Benni - January 2017

The original photo: Caroline, Jody and Michelle with JP, Sammy, Pearl, Miller and Benni - January 2017

 Kate with JP, Caroline with Sammy, Jody with Pearl, Michelle with Miller and Erica with Benni - April 2018

Kate with JP, Caroline with Sammy, Jody with Pearl, Michelle with Miller and Erica with Benni - April 2018

 Then this happened.  No dogs or humans were injured in the making of this photo.  

Then this happened.  No dogs or humans were injured in the making of this photo.  

 Of course we had to get the Pearl Harbor siblings on their own.  L-R: JP, Sammy, Pearl, Miller and Benni.  We're so proud of these beautiful dogs.  

Of course we had to get the Pearl Harbor siblings on their own.  L-R: JP, Sammy, Pearl, Miller and Benni.  We're so proud of these beautiful dogs.  

 Our one "serious" photo.  We love what we do. 

Our one "serious" photo.  We love what we do. 

A Match Made in Blue

On World Autism Awareness Day, we join the global community in lighting it up blue to raise awareness and support for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. 

Through the end of this week, all donations will be generously matched by Carol Parish and Marty Zeldin – up to $5,000! Give on our website, towards a walkathon team or send a check by mail. Every gift counts. 

Please make a donation to unlock life’s potential for children and families touched by autism.

Blue today... Blue every day.  

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My son pointed, clapped his hands and said a few words until he was about 15 months old. Then autism happened, and he just faded away. Instead of playing with me or his dad or sisters, he stared out into space. We were heartbroken, and the joy in our home was replaced with worry. One of our many concerns was that we would not be able to keep him safe, as he seemed to wander and “elope” often.

When we received our autism service dog, light began to shine in our lives again. I now had a tool that I could use to keep our son safe and to make him laugh, and my family started to experience joy and laughter again. She healed us then - and she still does every single day.
— autism mom

Registration is open for BluePath's Walkathon!

BluePath will host our 2nd Annual Walkathon on Saturday, May 19th from 10am - 2pm at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights, NY. Join us on the path and unlock life’s potential for families touched by autism.

  1. Register to participate.  Visit https://www.crowdrise.com/BluePathWalkathon2018. Click register, then tickets and follow the prompts. Note that each registration comes with a (totally awesome) BluePath Walkathon tee shirt. Once you click “complete registration,” move to step two, below. 

  2. Help us raise funds for autism service dogs!  Select “I Want A Fundraising Page” and choose to join a team, create a team or fundraise as an individual. 

  3. Once you’ve set up your Crowdrise page, it’s time to spread the messageClick here for tips on gathering support. Have friends or family who would prefer to donate via check?  No worries!  Checks should be made out to BluePath Service Dogs and sent to 8 Country Club Rd. Hopewell Junction, NY 12533.  Please note the team name and individual you are supporting on the memo line so we can add the contribution to your Crowdrise total.

  4. Take note of this year’s fundraising incentives… We have a plethora of BluePath goodies for our top fundraisers - as well as some surprises along the way! 

  5. Questions?  Any sort of confusion?  Reach out to us anytime – we appreciate your support and we’re here to help!  Erica.Stanzione@bluepathservicedogs.org

PLATINUM SPONSORS

CLG ConstructionCo-CommunicationsElite CarriersEmpire BlueCross BlueShieldShrub Oak International School

GOLD SPONSORS

The Neva and Howard Goldstein Family Charitable Fund, G.S. BounceHudson Valley Men's Adult Baseball LeagueNexGuard / HeartguardQuinn Law Firm, Peekskill Rotary ClubState Farm - Ken LemenzeVolz Auto

SILVER SPONSORS

Animal Specialty CenterAu Pair in AmericaCity of Rye Police AssociationHudson Financial Group - Deborah BeckerHudson Highlands Veterinary Medical GroupKolmar Americas Inc.Middletown Veterinary HospitalTaconic Route 202 24 Hour Veterinary CenterThe Westchester Bank

 

Interested in sponsorship opportunities?

Reserve your spot now and maximize the partnership potential - contact Erica Stanzione at erica.stanzione@bluepathservicedogs.org for more info.

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