I have been a volunteer with New Horizons since 2012. Over the past 8 years, I’ve had the distinct privilege of working with over a dozen uniquely special puppies and enjoyed the countless opportunities to work with clients, raisers, and members of the public. As a raiser and now a handler, I have the unique perspective of seeing and benefiting from the before and after aspects of the life changing process of raising service dogs. I always knew that my puppies in training would change their forever person’s life, but it wasn’t until I received my own that I truly understood and felt the profound impact of a service dog partnership; the bond is unlike any other relationship I’ve ever had. My story is unique because I was given the honor of raising my own service dog, Mozart, from the start at 8 weeks old and I’m immeasurably grateful to New Horizons for allowing me to do so at no cost to me. To anyone wondering how they could ever give away a puppy they’ve lovingly raised, having gone through that process numerous times and now relying on my own, know that your puppy will be life-changing, life-giving, and life-saving. Mozart is the very best thing that has ever happened to me and I am thankful to each puppy I raised before him for paving the way.
Mozart has drastically improved my independence and quality of life. It is thanks to him that I can work and travel independently. He lowers the amount of pain I’m in each day by retrieving items and pulling my wheelchair. Mozart has saved my life on multiple occasions by alerting to my medical condition and getting help. I’m forever indebted to him. He has given me the confidence and freedom to pursue my dreams and take on any challenge my health or life throws at me.
Mozart has assisted me immensely during my time at Disney and his help has allowed me to develop in my area at Epcot. Mozart and I were promoted to Walt Disney World Trainers and we have the unique opportunity to showcase how incredible a New Horizons Service Dog is to every new cast member we train and welcome to Epcot. I’m incredibly proud to represent people with disabilities in such a rewarding and impactful manner and I owe that to my best boy Mo and NHSDI.