Monday, August 8, 2016

Join the Puppy Party - a Heal Hazel fundraiser for Hazel's Hound. 

When I met with the trainer for the first time, I was blown away. A service dog could do so many more things for Hazel, than I had imagined! 

Blown away.

I had told her Hazel needed a support dog because of PTSD, and first, she blew me away listing so many ways a dog could help. Besides providing the emotional support of a caring companion, and comfort in uncomfortable social situations, the dog could be trained to fend off impending panic attacks, interrupt nightmares, and even secure the perimeter. Joellen has trained service dogs for soldiers with PTSD, so she knows the wide range of needs a person has, when coping with the aftermath of brutal violence.

Then Joellen asked me, "what are Hazel's physical limitations?"

I dismissed the question. "Well, she has M.E. and there's not much a dog can do about that."

But Joellen was about to blow me away again. "Okay, but tell me about her physical limitations anyway."

So I told her about chronic pain, exhaustion, and confusion. I figured there wasn't much a dog could do about those. Then I added that she gets very dizzy and is extremely weak, so getting up from the bathtub, or climbing stairs, can be a problem.

"A dog can help with those!" Joellen said.

We don't know yet what breed of dog or mutt Hazel will get, but Joellen will help us find good candidates and test them for personality and trainability to make sure Hazel's Hound is able to handle all its work. 

But wait, there's more! 

I hadn't even thought of it, but, yes, a dog can be trained to help Hazel up out of the tub, to go get help if she falls and can't get up, to steady her on the stairs, and of course to fetch and carry things for her. When my own M.E. makes me unable to carry something upstairs to Hazel, her dog could do that. And when I'm too ill to push her wheelchair, the dog can pull it!

Her dog can be trained to remind Hazel to take her meds, and alert her if there's someone at the door. Those are things I take care of now, but with her dog, Hazel could have a better chance of someday living independently.

We all need somebody to lean on. 

Hazel's hound will be someone for her to lean on, in so many way. Everyone could use a friend, sometimes, but imagine being 23 years old and housebound for ten years --- never having been well enough to finish high school, go to parties and concerts, even go to the library or a park, and definitely not well enough to get a job (Well okay, she did have one paid job as a kid, before she was sick, doing what? Dog walking!)

Imagine turning 23 not being able to move away and go to college, not being able to play the musical instruments you once loved, barely being able to express yourself at all.

And then imagine not only having Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, but also having been the victim of a horrible attack while still a pre-schooler, and suffering from the horrifying memories that trigger panic attacks and nightmares. Hazel often stays awake for 40 hours or more, at a stretch, because the pain is so bad it keeps her awake, only to fall asleep and have nightmares so bad they wake her, and she doesn't dare fall asleep again.

Life looks so much better. 

Now imagine that young woman, tormented by pain and horrors, but having a big, reliable, supportive companion dog beside her. Life looks a whole lot better, doesn't it? Especially if that dog can increase not only her comfort but also her mobility and independence.

Dog Days are here and Birthday is coming.

It's now the Dog Days of Summer, and Hazel's birthday is coming in mid-September. So now is the time for us to gather up the money to give Hazel her happiest birthday present---one huge, happy and huggable hound dog.

Please give what you can. Here's Joellen's estimate: Dog: $350 - $1500
Initial testing, boarding and training for 4 to 6 weeks $2000 to $3000
Lessons for Hazel with the dog, three to five: $150 to $250
Intermittent boarding and training at certain critical developmental stages: $1000 to $2000
Total: $3500 to $6750

Matching Fund!

That's a lot of money, but a generous donor K.K. has put up a matching fund to get us started. If we can raise $1000 this month, she will match that with an additional $1000, so by the beginning of September we'll have enough to get the dog and start the training.

Other Funding Sources

We're completely disabled, with no savings to draw on, but we'll raise what we can by selling some classic old toys, doing tarot readings, and selling nontoxic, biodegradable nail art at/Pajamaberry Jamberry Nails, and an online writers' community has offered to hold a writing contest to help raise funds, too, so watch for details on those fundraising activities in later blogs.

Thank you! 

If you can help with a donation, thank you. If you can help by sharing this blog on social media, or supporting in any other way, thank you for that, too!