Man’s best friends are known to be four legged, hairy descendants of the wolf who are interested in pleasing their owners through their love and ability to have fun. Dogs though, can be so much more, as is the case with Benni, a year-old lab who is near the end of his basic training, to serve a child with autism. Read more.
By Anne Garretson
A short time from now Miller will move along from his puppy training with me to his service dog training with Caroline. He won’t be my sidekick anymore. The adorable puppy stage is over far too soon. Why does it all go so darn fast? Wasn’t he a squirmy, little imp in my arms just a few weeks ago? It makes me sad, yes, very.
Well, sort of.
I’m so excited – I can’t wait for this 70-pound mass of energy to go!!!
Am I excited to give him back because he’s gotten big and strong? No, that’s not it. It is true that he’s no longer the little pup I can carry away from danger, but we made a pact early on - I only ask him to do things I know he’s capable of mastering and he always tries his best to succeed. He gets it that we’re on the same team. So when we see another dog we work together; we can calmly go on our merry way without a distraction interfering.
Am I excited for him to leave because of my favorite pair of hand-knit socks that he used as a tug toy? It was morning playtime and he was too quiet that day. That’s when I discovered the reason why. Little puppies are just like little human kids; they make mistakes, and that’s when we teach them right and wrong. He leaves my things alone now, so that’s not it either. Now that he’s grown-up, he endures the frenzy of my morning routine with a hearty chew on his bone - a canine equivalent to a relaxing cup of coffee.
Am I excited to say goodbye because of his silly counter-surfing attempts as a young pup? Miller got tall at a pretty young age and discovered he could reach a whole new world. It took a little work, but now when my bank teller tries to get him to put his paws up on the counter so she can give him a treat, he politely sits instead. He learns these lessons quickly and is really responsive to my cues. That’s a great thing for a dog whose job will be to pay attention to the mood of his kid.
Am I excited to rid myself of this licking machine? He takes in the world around him by kissing it. Germaphobes, be warned. Recently, on a visit to my local special needs pre-school his kisses were transforming. A little boy who’s non-verbal and very disengaged stood near Miller. He was just barely close enough for that giraffe-like neck and tongue to reach the boy’s hand. Instead of jumping away he turned his hand up, stepped a wee bit closer and the party began. Miller licked and licked that little kid, who faced Miller, smiled, laughed and made eye contact with him. The teacher nearly burst into tears. So there we have it.
All his lessons in good manners and partnership are my lead for this…
That moment with that little boy is why I’m so excited for my pup to leave me…
Go get ‘em, Millsy. Show us what you can do.
On Saturday, May 19, we'll host our second annual walkathon at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights. The family-friendly fundraiser will raise funds in support of BluePath's mission to provide autism service dogs, offering safety, companionship and opportunities for independence. Stay tuned for more information!
A special thank you to the sponsors who have already committed their support:
PLATINUM: Co-Communications, Elite Carriers, Empire BlueCross BlueShield
SILVER: Kolmar Americas Inc.
The FAR Fund was established in 2001 to provide grants to non-profit organizations that promote healthy social and emotional development in children and families. The Fund's generous $25,000 grant will assist us with our Kids and Canines Learning Together Program, an essential component to the training of BluePath dogs.
The Kids and Canines Learning Together Program allows service dogs in training to spend time in educational settings where they’re exposed to children with a variety of special needs. The dogs learn to remain calm and focused despite a high level of distraction, while the kids learn important life skills through interaction with the dogs.
We are deeply grateful for the Fund's support.
The Hyde and Watson Foundation was incorporated on January 14, 1983, through the consolidation of The Lillia Babbitt Hyde Foundation and The John Jay and Eliza Jane Watson Foundation.
Lillia Babbitt Hyde devoted her life to many charitable causes, including the arts, medical research, education, and health care. John Jay and Eliza Jane Watson were an extremely philanthropic couple, supporting organizations with missions dedicated to religion, education and social services.
BluePath is the proud recipient of a $5,000 grant from The Hyde and Watson Foundation. The funding will support office equipment and database management, and we are extremely grateful for the Foundation's generosity.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
On November 28, your contribution to BluePath will have twice the impact! The Pedowitz family will match all gifts made – up to $10,000!
Join us for this global movement - your support will help us unlock life’s potential.
Thank you for joining us on this path.
Prefer to give through the mail? Checks can be made payable to BluePath Service Dogs and sent to: 8 Country Club Road. Hopewell Junction, NY 12533. Please indicate "Giving Tuesday" on the memo line so it counts towards our match!
by Anne Garretson
When rain gently falls, each little drop forms a circle as it hits the water. Whether it falls on a puddle, a pond, stream or ocean, the circle ripples out. Each one intersects with another and another. One little raindrop lands and suddenly is part of a greater body of water, sustaining itself in a new way.
For me, Miller is that raindrop. JP, Chelsea, Sammy, Pearl, Mary, Shiloh, Benni, Roxy, Lakota, Chester, Coal and all the BluePath puppies to come, all raindrops. I guess that makes us puppy raisers the first circle around each of the drops. Jody, Caroline, Michelle, Kate, Erica, the loads of other volunteers, the board of directors, the donors, each one is another circle surrounding and rippling out from each puppy. Together we sustain the children who are served by each pup.
Or is it the other way around? Each child is the raindrop. Their families encircle them. A new service dog joins their circle and the ripples expand. The aunts and uncles, kids at school, clerks in stores, flight attendants on a trip to Disney, total strangers drawn to a child and a dog, another person drawn to BluePath, another family living with a child on the spectrum seeing that life’s potential truly can be unlocked… each is another circle rippling from a single child. A greater body is formed, sustaining us all in a new way.
Kindness is synonymous with the gentle BluePath rain. Puppy raisers hear ‘thank you’ a lot, yet we are the grateful ones. The families that receive our pups open a door into their lives and reach out to us. They love the same pup we have loved. They invite us to know them. They let us watch their child grow. They give us the precious gift of inviting us to be part of their journey – of their path.
Every professional and each volunteer gives us their heart and soul. They nurture us in a million ways. They’re proud of the same pups that have made us proud to raise them. They’re in love with the same children we call our most special gift of all. They make it possible for us to see the awesome power of these dogs to make the world a little kinder. Each of us involved with BluePath is a little drop gently forming a great big BluePath sea. We ripple out to one another, we intersect and we become an ocean of kindness, sustaining the world in a new way.
Twelve puppies are on the journey to become BluePath service dogs. Click on their photo to learn more about these special pups; we're incredibly proud of them - and thankful for their amazing puppy raisers! (To view their stories, click on the dog and hover your curser over the image. On mobile devices, click the white dot at the bottom right corner of of the screen when you click on a photo.)
We're thrilled to introduce BluePath's first van, a 2017 Dodge Caravan SE. The van will travel around the eastern seaboard visiting raisers and clients - and raising awareness for BluePath's important mission. We are infinitely grateful for the generosity of Team Michelangelo, founded by Cathy Capasso and Steve Sprague, which provided the funding to allow us to purchase the vehicle. Additional support for the van was provided by the Kellie Duggan Foundation.
Thank you to designer Paul Rubino; his fabulous artwork makes our vehicle impossible to miss. Last but certainly not least, it's stunning BluePath puppy Roxy whose image adorns the sides; thank you to puppy raiser Melissa Davis for her beautiful photography.
Save the date - Team Michelangelo's 9th Annual Charity Car and Motorcycle Show will be held on Sunday, April 29, 2018!
Congratulations to our co-founder, Michelle Brier, who has been recognized by Bedford Magazine as one of the "25 most influential people in Bedford"! Michelle was honored in the recently published article "The Bedford 25 of 2017: Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Influential." BluePath is so very proud for all that she does for our community. Her dedication to empowering people to achieve all that they can has an enormous impact well beyond the borders of Bedford, New York. Congratulations, Michelle!
Please click here to read the full article.