Cappy has the ability to help me with every task such as opening doors and picking up fallen objects. He also helps me mentally. He allows me to educate the public of the importance of service animals in the lives of disabled people. In the future we hope to visit veterans and help with fund raisers for Service Paws. He has the ability to recall numerous commands to perform necessary tasks that most people take for granted.
I got waffles on November 5th 2021. She is 17 months old. Waffles help me
with my PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, and diabetes (she was not specifically
trained for that - she did that on her own). She puts gentle pressure on my
chest when i am having any panic attacks and anxiety issues. She wakes me
when I am having PTSD flash backs. I don't know how I ever went this long
without the help of a service dog. She has helped me so much over the past
7 months, and I will always be thankful for all the trainers at New Hope
Assistance Dogs Inc. With waffles I am able to do more things and be okay
there where I need to be.
Jessie received her service dog New York in August of 2022. York has been an amazing addition to our family. She has helped Jessie both physically and emotionally. Jessie was diagnosed on July 12, 2018 with Juvenile Diffused Systemic Scleroderma, a terminal illness that affects the internal organs as well as the external skin and joints. She also suffers from Raynaud's Phenomenon.
Jessie can no longer make a fist or curl her toes, her lungs operate at approximately 60%, she has low motility (her food takes about a week to digest) and her esophagus is compromised so she has approximately 45 episodes of acid reflux daily. Jessie's jaw has been pushed out by the disease so only 3 of her teeth touch making eating difficult. Occasionally Jessie's knees or elbows lock.
York has made such a difference in Jessies life, she does not need to be as dependent on others as much as she had been. For example if Jessie drops something York is able to pick it up for her, she is also able to help Jessie get off of the floor if her knee gets stuck.
Because of York we have seen a huge change in Jessie emotionally. We know that as time goes on York will continue to help Jessie and Jessie will continue to feel more independent. York is no doubt Jessie's best friend. Thank You Service Paws for all that you do. We cannot put a price tag on the joy and independence that York has brought Jessie. It was all made possible because of you.
Thank You from the bottom of our hearts,
The Clark family
Velcro is my service dog. He alerts me when I am about to have a seizure and will alert someone when I have having a seizure. There have been times he has alerted me hours before I went into an episode. He alerts me by nudging me to an area where I can sit or lay down, he also barks and opens doors. He isn’t just my service dog though, he’s my best friend. I have anxiety and he knows when i’m having a bad day. He will come lay with me or just sit next me and give me comfort. He’s a big cuddler as well and loves peanut butter as a treat!
Leslie A. Kelly
Altoona is my hometown, I was born and raised here. I love this community. I attended Altoona Area High School, am widowed, and have three beautiful children with 9 grandchildren and a great grandchild. Along with Nokie, my retired hearing dog, I have three other furry “kids” at home.
I became hard of hearing from a head injury, then at age 34, became totally deaf. My hearing loss did not keep me from working, but it did create a hardship for me. That is when I started my new life with a hearing dog, Sara, until she crossed over the rainbow bridge.
When Sara was with me, we did many presentations in the community to help educate others on different kinds of service dogs and how they can help a person with a disability. For me, it was for me important to reach out to the public to help educate others.
When I needed my second hearing dog, Nokie, I had to raise $5000. I asked the community to help me raise the money, and was amazed at the support I received. Even after I got Nokie, the money continued to come in, so I decided to give back to the community to help others as I was helped. That is when I founded SPCP. I have such wonderful people on the board who help make it possible to assist those in need.
This is truly something I love doing!
Thank you so much for sponsoring Brian and Vinny! Vinny has made such a huge impact on Brian's life. I thought you may want some photos for your promotions. Vinny has the nickname of "Vinny the wonder dog" at my husband's booth at the flea market. Vinny can tell even before I can if Brian will have a seizure. Brian had been up on a jumping pillow with our daughter and Vinny barked and started to signal to me Brian was going to have an issue before I could even see he was feeling bad. 30 seconds later Brian started showing symptoms. Brian recently went to stand from his chair and Vinny blocked him. He did this twice and then when Brian stood again jumped up to push him into the chair and Brian had a seizure. I would have never even thought he was going to he was not showing any physical symptoms. I can definitely help with any of your fundraising events I have experience with doing bull roasts and Chinese auctions for the homeless. I can't tell you how much we appreciate your help and support.
Alexander Kashatus & Diesel
Diesel, a 2-year-old Doberman Pinscher, was a surrender pet at the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter located in Sheridan, WY. The transition from being a surrender to a service animal was facilitated by the organization Stray to Service, which specializes in training dogs aged between 1 to 3 years to become service animals. This service is provided free of charge to individuals with disabilities. Diesel's owner, Alex, is an Army Combat Veteran who has been deployed four times, experiencing the terrains of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now paired with Diesel, Alex finds a companion who shares his love for the outdoors and basking in the sun.
Visa has been life-changing for our family. Liam has made so much progress because of Visa. The healing didn’t begin until he got her. She not only comforted him and calmed him but she has helped his self-confidence. Her presence bridges the gap when he is in public. He takes great pride in how well he has trained her and that has also helped his self-esteem. Just yesterday a dog trainer who works at St Francis saw Liam and Visa in public after a situation occurred with another supposed service dog and she approached and complimented him on Visas' training. He had a smile from ear to ear. Just a few weeks ago Liam was able to stay overnight at my parents without Visa and I dog sat. It may sound trivial to some but it is huge for us. There was a time he could go visit for an hour without an anxiety/panic attack. He is concerned that someone will take Visa if he gets better but we know there will always be times he needs her. There was a time when I couldn’t shower without Liam being right outside the door or go to the washer or wood stove without him behind me and forget leaving the house. I don’t know where he would be without her coming into our lives. She came at just the right time. 10 days after her arrival our daughter was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Because of Visa I won’t hesitate to get a service dog for her when the time is right. I can’t thank service paws enough for their help.
Life, before I got Koda, was a terrifying place. I have a severe peanut allergy that I only developed in the past five years. In the time before I had Koda, I used to go to the ER with a severe allergic reaction twice or more a year. I remember one visit that scared me. All anaphylactic reactions are terrifying, but this one imprinted the severity of my condition. My husband drove me to the ER, I was barely breathing. I remember a nurse who made me sit in a wheelchair and pushed me straight back to a room. My husband who is an EMT was pacing, scared that he couldn’t do anything. I had two doctors assigned to me, not something that ever happens in an ER. One doctor had scrubbed up and opened intubation supplies and a cricothyroidotomy kit, just waiting for me to stop breathing. The other doctor was yelling at the nurse, who was struggling to scan the epinephrine. I remember him telling her, “I don’t care if it gets scanned, get it in her body before she dies.” I received excellent care that day and did not get intubated but at that moment, I realized this allergy would win one of these days. I have two small children and a wonderful husband, and I don’t want to die early. I am allergic to very common food. Peanuts are iconic and can be found at baseball games, bars, ice cream shops, and restaurants. Also, peanut butter is a common food in the workplace. I can have a severe allergic reaction from touching, eating, and even smelling peanuts. Food allergies are hard; no one except those who suffer from an allergy think about the surfaces they come in contact with after they eat food. Before Koda, I was scared to eat out or go to a friend's house. The world is a deadly place for me. In September 2019, I was paired with Koda. She is a peanut detection dog. Since she became my companion, I now feel more confident visiting friends, going to events, walking around the grocery store, and eating out. She can detect harmful concentrations of peanuts on any surface and in the air. She has saved my life many times by detecting peanuts before I encountered them. Having a service animal has given me my life back.
Vanessa Brazee and Koda May Brazee
My name is Branden and I am a disabled Marine veteran. I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. I suffer from PTSD and TBI and also some physical disabilities. Being in Afghanistan for about a year everything seemed normal; however, when I got back to the states that’s when the real war began, with flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. I was at my lowest point at that time and didn't want to live anymore with the war within my head. Another Marine buddy of mine told me I should see about getting a service dog to help with my PTSD & anxiety triggers especially out in public in large crowds. After doing some searching online I came across Service Paws of CentralPA (SPCP) and spoke with Joe. I told Joe exactly why I needed a service dog and asked him if he could help me in any way. A week or so went by and Joe called and referred me to New Hope Assistance Dogs located in Warren, Pa. After speaking with New Hope they said they have a dog ready to be trained with me. Zeke is a year old and was in a prison training program and already had advanced training. When I picked up Zeke we had an instant connection and bond. It’s like Zeke knew I was in need of some help. Zeke has been a true blessing for me. He helps me with my PTSD and anxiety triggers. I feel more comfortable being in larger crowds now with him by my side, letting me know that everything is all right. He is the smartest dog I know and he is truly a lifesaver! I can’t thank Joe and SPCP enough for helping me find Zeke and all the donations to make it possible for me to have him.
Cameron has meant the world to myself and my wife, Vicki. He has made it much easier for me to live a more independent life freeing Vicki and the kids from worrying about me. We love him very, very much.
I have suffered from PTSD since 2006, due to a roll over ambulance accident while working as an emergency medical technician. The panic attacks, flashbacks, and nightmares have me feeling like I am just a shell of myself. I am in my 30’s unable to do something as simple as go grocery shopping without someone with me.
After a few long conversations with my loved ones, I approached my doctor who was 100% on board with the idea of a service dog for me. I began the process with New Hope Assistance Dogs Inc. After completing the paperwork, I was given the chance to meet a few dogs to see if there was a “match”. I was introduced to a few different dogs, the last of which was Breezy. Breezy is a beautiful 6-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever.
I felt an instant bond with Breezy. Laid back, eager to please, and one smart dog. I could not stop thinking about this sweet girl. Good Friday came along, and I received a phone call letting me know that they also felt that Breezy and I were a good match for one another. The best Easter present I could ever imagine. I picked Breezy up the day after Easter.
Since I brought Breezy home she has been my “right hand man”. We are inseparable. She wakes me up from nightmares and snuggles in against me when I have a panic attack come on. I had a major ankle surgery in May, and she has not left my side thru the whole recovery process. While working with Breezy everyday I have begun to feel a sense of self-worth, confidence, and happiness that I had been missing for so long.
Courtney Musser & EJ
My service dog’s name is E J. He is a seizure detection dog. He is such a great dog. We have a bond already. I love the way New Hope Assistance Dogs provided EJ so quickly for me. They are very caring.
Nicole Horn and Velvet
My name is Nicole Horn and this is Velvet. As a person who struggles with PTSD and Asperger’s Syndrome, I needed a service dog to help me with my severe anxiety (especially when I’m out in public), panic attacks, frequent nightmares that contribute to my ongoing issues with insomnia, and hallucinations. I also have a history of seizures in which I fully lose consciousness and fainting spells that add some challenges to my daily life.
Since pairing with Velvet through New Hope Assistance Dogs, INC, my anxiety in public has lessened. When I feel a panic attack coming on, she provides deep pressure therapy by either leaning against me when I’m standing or by getting in my lap if I’m sitting which helps to calm me down. I’m also sleeping better at night because she sleeps with me and will get on top of me and lick me when I awaken from a nightmare which calms me immediately instead of leading to a full-blown panic attack and sleepless night as they have in the past. She has also been able to detect when I was going to have a seizure or fainting spell and has alerted me by nudging me with her paw.
We have a very close bond. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She has made so many things in my life so much easier and has improved my quality of life from something as simple as helping me sleep to enabling me to go about daily tasks like running errands and shopping. We are just working on a couple of little things to finish up our training with New Hope. We make a great team! I’m very thankful to have Velvet in my life.
I am from Leechburg, Pennsylvania. I graduated from Edinboro University in May in with majors in Film and Criminal Justice and 2 Art minors. I currently work as a nanny. I enjoy being active with my dogs, film, and photography. I recently got my service dog, Harp. Harp is helping me to increase my independence. She helps me if I get dizzy, and she can retrieve things up for me. She also makes space for me to help me in crowded areas. Having Harp will empower me in many ways! Thank you so much for all you do and helping me gain independence!