Posted on March 30, 2016
I need to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your incredible financial support this past Christmas and winter. I can't believe how close we are to the original goal! It was an emotional whirlwind to become the #YouCaringGives recipient and be able to spotlight attention on the need and financial cost of service dogs to the entire world.
As you may have noticed, I've taken a big step back from fundraising these past few months. As the date for Meet the Dogs approached in February, I made the conscious decision to step back from fundraising until I had an actual match- a name, a service dog for me. Upon receiving news of my match and who my service dog was to be, I began planning specific fundraisers using that dog as the focus. Unfortunately, a week later, I received a call that my service dog had been released from the program for veterinary reasons and, more recently, adopted out to a very loving family.
The emotions from this bad news took an enormous toll on me. I watched fervently as this litter of puppies grew and prayed daily for their futures- I was engaged in their life stories from the moment they were born nearly two years ago. Knowing that 2 years of waiting had to be started over again was a huge blow. But, it happens. That's service dog world- only the best make it to graduation. It happens and it stinks. (By the way, those prayers did not go to waste! I'm only disappointed that my fantastic four legged will not be one of them. Each dog is living an incredible life with their families and/or trainers.)
I am actively seeking solutions for my dog-less situation. These solutions involve staying on the Phoenix Assistance Dog waiting list, seeking a dog on my own to possibly put through an owner training program (I have trainers across America looking at potential dogs for me from breeders and from rescues), or even considering another avenue. Unfortunately, switching programs wouldn't be the best option as the waiting lists elsewhere can be as long as 4-5 years and I'd be starting at the bottom of their lists (versus being at the top of PAD's list). Phoenix Assistance Dogs has recently had an influx of new dog candidates and some may be ready for graduation within the next year. It all depends on training, health, readiness, and willingness to work.
I truly appreciate the patience and support that my followers have shown. Depending on how I choose to proceed on this service dog journey, our fundraising goal may have to increase. Service dog solutions outside of PAD will come at a significant cost compared to the original fundraising plan. No final decisions have been made but all possible options are being actively considered. Any active updates can be found using the ?#ShaynasHope?hashtag on Facebook or the #ShaynasHopehashtag on Instagram.
I could not have made it through these past few months without the continued emotional support of my friends. All continued support is so very much appreciated in the coming months as hard decisions are made concerning my future.
Thank you all so much for being such incredibly kind human beings and lending your brains, hearts, and observations during this difficult time. You know who you are and just know that you're one of the many miracle workers on this journey for ?#ShaynasHope?.