Help Bring Home Bridget's Service Dog

For: Bridget Karsten
Organizer: Maureen Karsten
Help Bring Home Bridget's Service Dog (Bridget Karsten)
of $5,500 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 51 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

If you need a mailing address or have any other questions, please feel free to contact me through this site or at [email protected]

Raffle drawing is February 12th at Barnaby's Pizza on Rand Road in Arlington HTS.  You do not need to be present to win.  The prize list will grow as we get closer.  

2 tickets anywhere Apple Vacations flys*
AMC Theaters, 2 Guest Passes
Ars Vivia Symphony Orchestra, 2 Adult + 4 child tickets
Barnaby's Pizza, Free Pizza x2
Barnes & Noble, 27 Advanced Reader Edition Books
California Pizza Kitchen, 1 free entre and soft drink
Dirty Dog Grooming Spa, free dog grooming up to $65 value
EggHarbor Cafe, free Breafast or Lunch for 4
Enesco, Boo Stuffed Dog X 2
Garibaldi's $20 Gift Card
House of Blond, $25 Gift Card + Redken Product Gift Bag
JDs Smokehouse BBQ, $10 Gift Card
Lou Malnattie's Pizza, $25 Gift Card
Magic Latch dog leash attachment systems ($20 values) x3
Noodles & Co., Tour the World party for you and 4 to 6 guests ($100 value) x3
Pink Nail Salon, 1 Regular Manicure
Star Cinema Theater, 4 Passes
Starbucks Coffee
Trader Joes Gift Bag $35 Value
Yankee Candle Premium Reed Diffuser

We have enough to pay for the dog.  Any additional money will go towards travel expenses.  

Bridget is a wonderful young teen.  Unfortunately, before she was born, Bridget had a stroke.  We don’t know why and never will.  It is just something we need to deal with on a daily basis.  The stroke did not affect her intelligence; it did affect how she processes the world around her.  She has a constant struggle with anxiety, depression and coping with her environment. 

As her parents, we have gotten her to best medical care.  Sometimes, this has meant traveling to St. Louis or Minnesota.  We believe there is more that can be done for Bridget and we want to help her as much as we can to lead an independent life and become a productive member of society. 

After reading the wonderful things service dogs are doing for vets, we started looking into the possibility of a service dog for Bridget.  After a lot of research and searching, we located a very reputable training program in New Mexico called Assistance Dogs of the West.  After an extensive application and interview process, which included support from Bridget’s pediatrician and therapists, Assistance Dogs of the West has accepted Bridget into their program.  We are currently working on finding a dog that is a good “match” for Bridget. 

We have already incurred several expenses with multiple trips to New Mexico.  We will need to go back for two weeks of training when a dog is ready.  We will also owe $5,500 as our portion of the dog training.  The rest of the dog fees are covered by donations to the program, but the family is responsible for half of the cost of the dog.  I think this is fair, but still a large expense that insurance will not cover.  Bridget is doing her best to help earn the money watching the neighbors guinea pigs when they are on vacation and dog sitting.  We are all working hard and making fleece dog toys that we are going to sell at craft fairs.  Gillian started this company as part of a school project and continues to head it up.  At $4 each, we won’t make $5,500, but it is a start and it shows how committed we all are to helping Bridget.  Also, for every donation made, we are donating a dog toy to a dog in an animal shelter.  If you would like to purchase dog toys, please visit

You may wonder what a service dog could do for Bridget.  Most importantly, the dog will be a constant emotional support and companion.   The dog can help Bridget in line at the grocery store by keeping the patron behind her in line from getting too close and making her panic.  The dog can do the same in a crowd of people by giving Bridget the space bubble she needs.  Bridget’s favorite command is squish.  That is when the dog lays on top of her, this calms Bridget down like nothing else can.  I could keep going, but you can see the general idea.  Independence is the primary goal for Bridget. 

In spite of her difficulties, Bridget has persevered to be a wonderful piano player and singer.  She takes tap dance and plays Buddy Baseball in the summer.  She loves rocks, sewing and playing Mincraft.  She is very caring and creative.

Bridget plans for the future is to become a graphic artist. 

Please help Bridget get her dog.  No amount is too small.


*Charter Air Fare only from O'hare to Cancun/Riviera Maya, CAbo San Lucas. Cozumel, Huatulco, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Jamaica or Costa Rica.  Must pay taxes and fuel surcharge.  Use by 12/20/2014.  Blackout periods apply.  If you take an Apple Vacation package, they can deduct the cost of the tickets from the package.  If you want to see the prize letter with complete details, please e-mail me. 

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 6, 2014

Posted on August 6, 2014

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this.  I couldn't get into you caring in new Mexico and then I figured I would wait for all the details.  Bridget is officially matched with a female black lab named Desi.  She is three years old and very sweet.  The trainer will be bringing her to us on October 1st.  The trainer will stay for a week training Bridget and Desi in familiar surroundings.  We are so excited.  I have added several pictures of Desi to the sirs.  Thanks for everyone's help and we will keep you posted.   

Posted on April 24, 2014

Posted on April 24, 2014

Sorry it has been so long.  I started working and it has been crazy.  We also found out that our dog, butterscotch, has cancer.  We have had to figure out how to make the best of the time she has.  

On a positive note, assistance dogs of the west wants us to come out at the end of June to meet with some potential matches.  Keep your fingers crossed.  
Bridget will be having knee surgery at the beginning of June, but should be able to handle the trip by the end of June.

Posted on February 14, 2014

Posted on February 14, 2014

Posted on 02/13/2014by Organizer Maureen Karsten

The raffle was great.
And the winners are...

1.   GRAND PRIZE:  2 tickets anywhere Apple Vacations flys
Brad Conro 
2.   AMC Theaters, 2 Guest Passes
Cristina Lopez

3.   Ars Vivia Symphony Orchestra, 2 Adult + 4 child tickets

Julie Barbakof

Barnaby's Pizza, Free Pizza x2
Julia Schanke

5.   Pizza #2

Bea Poterack
6.   Barnes & Noble, 27 Advanced Reader Edition Books
The Vates Famil
7.   California Pizza Kitchen, 1 free entre and soft drink
Stacey Lialios

8.   Dirty Dog Grooming Spa, free dog grooming up to $65 value

Megan Nocita

9.   Egg Harbor Cafe, free Breakfast or Lunch for 4

The Kim Family

10.                     Enesco, Boo Stuffed Dog X 2

Christina Lialios

11.                     Boo #2

Shanin Trivanovic

12.                     Garibaldi's $20 Gift Card

Dianna Smith

13.                     House of Blond, $25 Gift Card + Redken Product Gift Bag

Mrs. Papadimitriou

14.                     JDs Smokehouse BBQ, $10 Gift Card

Lucky ?Peggy? Heinrich

15.                     Lou Malnattie's Pizza, $25 Gift Card

Mike Cortopassi

16.                     Magic Latch dog leash attachment systems ($20 values) x3

Julie Wulf

17.                     Magic Latch 2

Anne Nelson
18.                     Magic Latch 3
Sue Jacobson

19.                     Noodles & Co., Tour the World party for you and 4 to 6 guests ($100 value) x3

Amy Beaton

20.                     Noodles

Jan Grant

21.                     Noodles

Debbie Sutor

22.                     Pink Nail Salon, 1 Regular Manicure

Lynette Nimmo

23.                     Star Cinema Theater, 4 Passes

Greg Stocco

24.                     Starbucks Coffee

Lynette Nimmo

25.                     Coffee

Lynette Nimmo

26.                     Trader Joes Gift Bag $35 Value

The Crim Family

27.                     Yankee Candle Premium Reed Diffuser

Lynne Gasey

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