Friday Feature: Elissa

My story with National Service Dogs starts years ago when my family signed up to be one of the first volunteer puppy raisers for National Service Dogs, raising NSD London. I remember going to every puppy training class with my dad until NSD London eventually graduated and was placed into the Autism Service Dog program. We were so thrilled to see and hear how much NSD London impacted his forever family.

We decided to raise again with NSD Quincee. She ended up going into the breeding program for National Service Dogs and her puppies became future life changers. I remember waking up early to help take care of the puppies before running off to school. This is one of my favourite childhood memories. Quincee eventually because our family pet after she was no longer a breeder and thus ended my family’s involvement with National Service Dogs.

Years later, I saw an ad on National Service Dogs’ Facebook page that they were looking for more puppy raisers. After discussing this opportunity with my husband, we decided to sign up and go through the application process to bring home a puppy.

NSD Webster came home with us in May 2017 and immediately stole our hearts. Webster was always very intuitive and taught me more about myself and got me through more hardships in our time together than I could have even done for him. He graduated into the Companion program and is well-loved by his forever family.

Three days after Webster left our home for advanced training we brought home a new puppy- NSD Gatsby. Unfortunately, Gatsby was eventually disqualified from the program because of very severe allergies but he continues to provide love and support as a VIP (very important pet).

After Gatsby I became involved with weekend sitting for dogs in the advanced training program, helping in the whelping homes for National Service Dogs, as well as taking in short-term placement dogs as needed.

I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every role that I have had the privilege of participating in and can say that it is only getting better with time. I continue to see growth and positive change throughout each of these programs and operations at National Service Dogs and I am proud to be a part of such an amazing organization that helps so many people. If you are considering getting involved with NSD but are unsure, I encourage you to take the leap and do it- you won’t be disappointed.