Puppy Raising and Compassion

by Anne Garretson

“Will it be hard to give Miller back?” 

I get asked this question on a pretty regular basis.  I consider answering in a spiritual way, but I know I would see some people nod without understanding, and I’d see some eyes simply glaze over.  I was raised in a faith I only minimally adhere to, but the foundation remains my outlook on the world. I could take part in many religious rituals and not feel the same wholeness that comes from raising my BluePath pup.

My daily dose of religion comes from god spelled backwards. It’s this puppy who’s fun to watch as he plays and explores, who wants to be with me, at this point, more than any other person; who serves my need to be needed. It’s the immense love in the BluePath family; proudly spreading the word about the work we do, showing off this phenomenal puppy and always keeping the end goal in mind.

Imagine how much distrust, divisiveness and jealously we’d eliminate in the world if everyone traveled the kind of path to fulfillment a puppy raiser is traveling. If I had perfect clarity of mind every time I’m asked a giving-up-the-puppy question, I would be able to share how much puppy raising helps me look at people differently and with more compassion.

Recently I was at a highway truck stop where I kept my eye on a scruffy-looking man leaning on his beater-car; he sent up all my warning-danger flags. I hung out at my car and let Miller stretch his legs. He let his dog out for a stretch, too. Get ready, I thought… he’s about to use his unruly dog as an opening to try to invade my personal safety zone. I prepared for his dog to start barking or lunging at Miller, but no. His dog sat perfectly by his side and watched us. The man went back to making phone calls and I could overhear his conversations.

He was out of gas, had forgotten his wallet at home and was stuck there in the middle of nowhere. Everyone he knew was at least two hours away. Each conversation ended with, “That’s ok, I’ll figure something out. I love you too.” Meanwhile the dog had leaned up against the man’s legs and the comfort that motion gave the man was palpable. It triggered visions of Miller and his future partner- and it elicited a desire to offer him some help. 

He was shocked when I reached out to him, and then profoundly thankful.  It felt good to pay for his tank of gas, and even better to let go of my initial judgments of him.  I’m grateful that Miller helped me get to that place.  We develop meaningful bonds with these dogs, but equally as important are the connections they help us make with the world around us.

Will it be hard to say goodbye? Absolutely. But knowing that a child’s life will be so deeply enhanced by Miller’s presence makes it worth it… tenfold.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying every bit of this journey. 

Benni visits GAIT

by Chrisanne Cubby

Yesterday Benni and I visited GAIT, a therapeutic riding organization based in Milford, PA. It was a nice opportunity for Benni to interact with children and their families - as well as to meet the special horses involved in the program. 

One young girl was reluctant to pet Benni.  She sat down and first touched him with a finger.  He leaned against her and sat on her shoes.  She then petted him.  When she was done she said, "Benni told me not to be afraid."   

It's moments like this that I see so clearly the value in what I am doing.  

To learn more about GAIT, and to cast your vote in a contest that will allow the nonprofit to add a new horse to its program, visit the organization's Facebook page.  

A special birthday celebration

by Betty Goldfarb

When I turned 70 this year, I created a challenge for my friends and family as a way to honor me on my special birthday: contribute to BluePath Service Dogs in my name, and I would match contributions up to $700, based on $10 per year for 70 years.  This was the first fundraiser challenge I had ever done and I had no idea if this goal was even possible.  

What I found out is this:  most people who contributed did so because it was a way to honor me - to contribute to a cause that I am passionate about.  Most of my friends and family knew nothing about BluePath and the work they will do to provide service dogs to children on the autism spectrum.  So not only have I spread awareness about this wonderful organization, but the contributions added up to $992 - way over my goal!  I am humbled and deeply grateful.  I will match all contributions and BluePath will receive $1,984 to help fulfill its mission.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

More helping, more doing.  That’s the power of friends and family.

Betty and a friend on a Disney cruise earlier this year. 

Betty and a friend on a Disney cruise earlier this year. 

2017 Walkathon Sponsors

BluePath in the News

Westchester County Business Journal: “I just believe in the mission so much,” said volunteer puppy raiser Pat Carforo. “It changes lives. It brings happiness back into the home.”

The Journal News: "We believe so strongly in the transformative role that these dogs have in people's lives," said VP of Marketing and Development Michelle Brier. "We’ve seen families be able to travel independently outside of their homes and we've seen children smile for the first time."

Auburn Jewelry

We're proud to announce our partnership with Auburn Jewelry, located just down the road in Chappaqua, NY.  Every piece of Auburn Jewelry is crafted by hand with superior quality.  Our "B spot" monogram will be available in sterling silver or 14k gold, 18 colors, and three styles - necklace, keychain or cufflinks! 

The best part?  15% of every purchase will be donated to BluePath!  Check out the collection online or see the pieces in person at our upcoming walkathon.


Lutece and Tess, two 8-year-old best friends, magically born on the same day, had a dream of creating a business together. Not just any business, their dream was to create a company that spoke of art, friendship and making the world a better place.

Marbelous is now sold in fashion-centric boutiques across the country. Marbelous is filled with creative spirit as each piece is handmade in Brooklyn and hand-stamped with an "M" using vintage printing tools. A portion of every sale goes to charities that Lutece and Tess believe in - including BluePath. 

We're grateful to Marbelous for their ongoing support of our mission.  Check out their website to learn more. 


Beyond Awareness

by Tricia Zarro, BluePath Board Chair

We all know the signs by now… the statistics are so alarmingly high that we are all affected in some way and connected somehow to an individual with autism. Maybe it’s your neighbor, the child at your bus stop, or your own child. Autism is in our lives and we are pretty aware.  

We invite you to join us this month in going beyond awareness... Take action and make a meaningful difference in someone’s life.  

Supporting BluePath means you will be making sure that a child does not get hurt due to his or her autism. With a service dog by a child’s side, the dangers of wandering can be prevented.

From April 1st to April 7th, contributions made to BluePath will be matched by an anonymous donor - up to $5,000.  You can support a walkathon team, donate on our website or send a check - every donation counts!  

Adventures of Miller - Practice

by volunteer puppy raiser Anne Garretson

A friend, looking at one of my proud mom pictures asked, “How did you get all three dogs to sit still and pose like that?” The tired old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall popped into my mind - practice, practice, practice.

The man in front of the grocery store… “how did you get this little puppy to say hello so nicely? Look at him paying attention to you! I wish my dog were that good.”

At the vet… “I wish all our patients were this calm. He’s not squirming, he’s letting me look in his ears and doesn’t care. It makes my job so much easier. Best of all he’s not stressed. Good job, Miller!”

Practice, practice, practice.

The other day at the office, Miller practiced doing nothing while I worked at my desk. Yup, that’s right. Doing nothing. A service dog’s life is on-off, on-off constantly. He needs to practice paying attention when I need him to be alert and resting when I don’t. He tried to get me to play for a bit and I ignored him. He lay down on the blanket beside me and got rewarded. Pretty soon he curled up on the blanket for a snooze.

This morning he wore a Captain America shirt. While he’s little, he’ll get used to wearing all kinds of things as the experiences prepare him for the BluePath vest he’ll wear one day. He spun in a circle for a minute trying to catch the shirt, then forgot about it and started to play with the other dogs.  

Miller comes from great lineage. He’s also inquisitive, confident, attentive and eager to please. These are traits I can’t take credit for. My job as his puppy raiser is to help him develop his inherent great qualities and redirect the not so great ones – like when he considers chewing on houseplants.  :)  Life provides consistently provides opportunities to practice, practice, practice - all day long.

We practice every little desirable behavior and build on them; that’s how we shape this little puppy into a well-balanced, well-mannered dog.  Because when he’s out on the job working as an autism service dog, how he behaves cannot be a distraction or danger for the parent and child who’ll depend on him.

But don’t worry… both now and later in life as a working service dog, this sweet, goofy pup will always have time to play, to snuggle, and to receive endless pampering and love.  He’ll make sure of that!  

Miller... aka Captain America! 

Miller... aka Captain America! 

Bringing our brand to life

Since our launch in December, we've received wonderful comments about our logo and website; we're now pleased to acknowledge the two wonderful designers responsible for this great work.  

Lucia Vaughan and Sho Watanabe are based out of Ogilvy and Mather's Chicago office.  We asked this talented team to create a look for our brand that would portray BluePath in a professional, yet approachable manner, and represent our brand promise - to unlock life's potential.  

Based on your feedback, we know we got it right.  Best of all?  Because they care about our mission, Lucia and Sho worked with us entirely free of charge.  We're incredibly grateful for their time and talent in bringing BluePath to life.  


Lucia Vaughan is an Oregon-born designer with a passion for bold ideas, fresh perspective, and a good challenge. After graduating from Purdue University in May of 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communications Design, she now works as a full-time designer with Ogilvy and Mather Chicago/Ogilvy 485.

Lucia wanted to get involved in BluePath because she firmly believes in the power of design for good – a global design movement seeking to refocus the influence and problem-solving abilities inherent in design to bring about positive social change. Lucia’s involvement in BluePath is her first step in being part of this change.   

Lucia hopes that her help bringing BluePath to life will have a positive, lasting impact on families in need. It brings her nothing but joy to know that her work will serve a larger purpose, and in some way, make the world a better place.

Sho Watanabe was born in New York City and raised in Westchester County. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and graduated in May of 2015, with a Bachelors in Communication Design. Upon graduating, he interned for The Nation magazine and assisted creative director, Robert Best, where he helped with all design tasks. In September of 2016, Sho relocated to Chicago, Illinois to work for Ogilvy & Mather/Ogilvy 485. 

Sho pursued a career in Graphic Design because he wants to be able to use his abilities to communicate through design and to make an impact on people’s lives. A logo symbolizes the essence of a company’s personality and helps to develop brand awareness and recognition.  Sho’s work with BluePath gave him the chance to be a part of a positive community and achieve that goal.

Thank you Lucia and Sho! 

Ogilvy and Mather designers Lucia Vaughan and Sho Watanabe

Ogilvy and Mather designers Lucia Vaughan and Sho Watanabe