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A letter from the President

Dear Friends of Service Dogs, Inc.,

Courage ~ the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language, was from the Latin word cor, meaning heart; and, the original definition was to tell the story of who are with your whole heart.

This is the first part of my story, my first inspiration ~ rescuing abandoned animals.

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Next, the training.  We were going to do it in a way that made the dogs feel good, safe, happy and motivated to solve problems.  Positives, not force.

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Turns out that gave us dogs that literally saved lives.  Dogs that acted on their own, when their partners’ lives were in danger.  Like Excalibur (below middle) who overcame his fear of running water (most likely from abuse before he got to the shelter) to pull his unconscious partner, Pastor Ray McCoy, from an overflowing bathtub.

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Blue (above left) who when let off leash in the woods to find help, did not succumb to  the appeal of freedom but instead searched for nearly an hour to find help for his new partner, teacher Chris McAllister, whose wheelchair had overturned on a muddy hill.

Honor (above right) whom we adopted three days before the shelter was going to euthanize her.  She ended up saving her partner Maribel Schumann after a collapsed porch swing knocked her unconscious by licking her cheek until she regained consciousness, then hitting an emergency button to alert 911.

During this year of our 25th anniversary, we have increased the number of dogs we train, started our Trainers Academy, created a weekly T.V. segment and amassed a total of 5 Guinness World Records with our Mighty Texas Dog Walk, our largest special event.

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We add these new programs to help fund the expanding demand for Hearing and Service Dogs by wonderful people who are literally putting their lives in our hands. And in the case of the three recipients below, and many folks who get our Hearing Dogs, their children’s lives.

“Before I got Harvard, if Isaiah was downstairs or in the backyard, I felt like I had to be there.  Now I have more options inside my own home.”  Amy Baxter (below left)“Now my five year old daughter tells me she feels safer with Mommy,” Meagan Harris (below center)

“My son has a lot of medical needs.  Now, when I am home alone with him, Dallas will alert me if his medical equipment alarms sounds,” Ryan Wade (below left)

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Shouldering this kind of responsibility makes me feel anxious at times.  Can I do enough to keep everything going?  When foundations dry up because of the stock market, how can I make up for the loss in their grants?  When businesses reduce their budgets, how can I work around the deficit in corporate giving?

What gets me through these concerns is remembering that I am not alone in wanting Service Dogs, Inc. to go on.  You are with me. You have shown all of us that by your support.

The storms of the economy can’t break us when you’re with us. I proudly invite you to stand with us and make a gift at a level you feel comfortable with.

Because you have your own story from the heart. And it includes caring about dogs.  And caring about very special people whose lives are profoundly changed by these dogs.  And caring enough to bring us into your family and to join ours.

Please accept my sincere wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season and a Wonderful 2014.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Sheri Soltes
Founder and President

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