Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who doesn't love a random picture of Cooper.
 Our first Team Training is fast approaching!  By this time next week I'll be packing Gypsy and my things up and getting ready to drive out.  I'm told that Cooper is making great progress in his current lessons.  I can't wait to meet him and I hope he likes me.

I'm posting a widget for a Chip-In I started for travel fees.  Please spread the word!  I promise plenty of new pictures and videos.

And now, for some fun!  A short video of Cooper playing with a few other PAD puppies.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Making Plans for Team Training

This has been a great week for us!  We've had $75 donated, which is half of what I need to go do my first session of team training.  We have decided that Gypsy and I will travel to PA to do Team Training on June 8th, and we will be there until the 10th. 

Cooper has continued with learning many puppy basics, like sit, down, lap up and wait.  He is also learning to work with all sorts of equipment, like vests, collars, leashes, harnesses, and head gear.

Cooper is also learning about living in a house and hanging out with other dogs.  So far I hear that he is friends with everyone and is learning to respect the limits of the other dogs in his house.

Gypsy and I attended a fund-raising event this weekend for NAMI called NAMI-Walks in Hartford, CT.  We had a great time walking with members of Please Don't Pet Me.  Today Gypsy is a bit sore, but I plan to stay home for the next two days so she can rest.

I've also registered for classes next year.  I've been accepted as a transfer student at Southern Connecticut State University and plan to study for two degrees, one is Elementary Education and one in Mathematics.  Two to three years from now, if all goes well, I will start working on a Masters Degree so that I can teach at the high school level.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone out there who has been so wonderful to support us in every way!  Please spread the word!
And just for fun, a video of Cooper playing in the pool.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Story to Date

I am a 30 year old college student.  I am disabled and I use a service dog to help me in my day to day life.  With the support of my doctors and my service dog Gypsy I am back in school and well on my way to a degree.  I have about two years left before I have an undergraduate degree.  I hope to become a math teacher.

Gypsy has been a life saver and partner for me for five years.  Without her I doubt I would have gotten this far.  Gypsy is now seven years old and her vet tells me that she will need to retire soon.  She has problems with arthritis in both knees.  We've scaled back most of her work and she does water therapy once a week and gets a massage three times a week.

Because Gypsy needs to retire, I need to get a new service dog so that I can continue at college.  To that end I contacted Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA.  They have preliminarily matched me with Cooper, one of the pups they have in training.  I will need to make a number of trips from here in CT to central PA to do team training with Cooper as he grows, and to make sure it is the right fit between us.

It will cost between $150 to $250 for each trip to PAD.  I would also like to help PAD raise money, not only for the training of Cooper, but also for the other teams they have in their program.  My goal for fund raising is $5,000.  It sounds like a lot, but I know that with your help, and the help of my community I will be able to meet that goal.

It costs between $10,000 and $30,000 for each service dog to be raised and trained to help a disabled person.  PAD does not charge for their service dogs but they cannot continue the work they do without help from people like you.

All donations should be made directly to Phoenix Assistance Dogs at:
Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA
547 Wood View Drive
Lititz PA 17543

Please include the information that the donation is for Laura and Cooper so that we can track how much we have raised.

PAD's wish list can also be found here:

All pictures and videos of Cooper are courtesy of Phoenix Assistance Dogs.
All pictures of Gypsy are taken by myself unless otherwise noted.