Sunday, September 14, 2008

2009 Tail Waggin' Dinner

The evening celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Helping Paws. Jenny Peterson was the keynote speaker. The theme for the night was how Helping Paws dogs touch the lives of others; from the volunteers and foster homes to the graduates who receive them - and as one slide so aptly put, "and everyone in between".

Jenny is in a unique position to tell the story of Helping Paws. Her service resume includes:

  • First Executive Director of Helping Paws
  • Co-developer along with Eileen Bohn of the training manual used by all foster homes
  • Former Board member
Finally, Jenny is the recipient of three Helping Paws service dogs including Alpha (shown above)*, the first dog trained and placed by Helping Paws.

Her warm, touching, and sometimes emotional speech told the story of this incredible dog. As Jenny noted, the hardest part of having a service dog is that they don't live as long as their human partners. Yet Alpha left a legacy of service that continues to touch each and every person with the privilege of witnessing or working with a Helping Paws service dog. Alpha taught Eileen and Jenny how to train the fosters who would work with the service dogs to come. A born ham, his demonstration skills made public outreach a breeze. He, with Jenny and Eileen alongside, paved the way for those who would follow.

Last night, his followers enjoyed a full house, a full stomach, a full heart, and an empty wallet. Like any true Alpha, he's still leading us well on the golden path he first walked.

*Alpha - photo courtesy Jenny Peterson

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