Wednesday night I was in bed, doing my last-minute checks of Facebook and email. It drives me nuts that as I am hitting the hay around 11pm, my friends on the east coast are just getting warmed up. Suddenly, I spy a photo in my newsfeed that makes me do a double take. It’s from a page I like: Dogs For Autism, and in it I see our HENRY! I was so excited I couldn’t hit the share button quickly enough.
If you don’t know the background on Henry- he and his ‘sister’ Napa were our labs. They did not make the trip overseas with us. I struggled for the longest time with who would care for them. In the end, my sister took Napa (all 110lbs of her) up to Michigan to spend her days with their other two dogs but Henry was another story- he was a little younger and needed a little more action. Divine intervention came into play here and I was approached by Dogs For Autism, and asked if I might consider donating Henry to their cause. They had just lost a dog to illness, and had a very, very distraught little boy and were desperate to find him a good dog. Labs are known to be extremely intelligent- and although DFA didn’t seek outside of their circle typically, or for a lab for that matter (German Shepards are their usual breed of choice) they took a chance on me. And Henry. And wow.
All of this happened so quickly- he was interviewed, passed medical screenings and we said goodbye. My husband and I struggled with leaving both of our family members in the hands of new people- but were also thrilled at what course of life Henry was about to take. He was going to be a service dog! He was going to help a child who needed him. Knowing all of this quieted some of the tears and in turn have given us a sense of peace.
If you find yourself wanting to make a charitable donation still for this year- I urge you to take a look at Dogs For Autism. The work that they do is very beneficial- but unfortunately very, very expensive. One month of training for one dog is $1,600 and they need several months worth of training. Henry was adopted in October and he isn’t expected to graduate until this spring… so if you do the math you can see what I mean.
There are several different levels of donation- from $15 for a vaccination, $70 for a tank of fuel, $485 for annual vet care for one trainee- and up. Every little bit helps and every little bit is appreciated. There are so many fantastic causes out there to donate to this Christmas- and year round as well- I hope I have given you another one to think about adding to your list. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!