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Letters From Ms. Pat

    “I was looking for something a little more exciting. Puppies and children… what could be better? I was hooked!”

    Pat Stover, better known as “Ms. Pat” had retired after three decades of teaching and thirty-six years as an antique shop owner and she was looking to make the most of her time.

    “After reading ‘The Underdogs’ I was motivated to attend an introductory program which included a mother who generously shared how a 4 Paws Dog had helped her child. It sounded like a miracle to me.  How could a dog do so much?” Pat remembers.

    Starting her volunteer journey in the puppy house, her first day included the introduction of a new puppy litter which she says was “pure joy that lasted about fifteen minutes, and then totally exhausted, they promptly fell asleep except for one cutie who took the time to pee on my dress before he dozed off.”

    When Covid hit, Ms. Pat was faced with conundrum; lockdowns had restricted her ability to volunteer onsite and her house was not equipped to foster a dog. So she put pen to paper, and found a solution.

    “Writing letters to the families was something I could do,” Ms. Pat says, “so my letter writing commenced.”

    Letters from Ms. Pat are mailed when class matches are released, one month before a team’s service dog graduation. From the whirlwind of knowing their future service dog , to preparing to travel to our campus for class, Ms. Pat says “A month is a long time to wait for a child especially after he has already seen a picture of his dog.  My intent is to assure the child that the dog is happy and excited to meet him and how they will soon be best friends.”

    Letters from Ms. Pat have also graced the desks of the State House. “During Covid one pup was named DeWine. When the dog was matched with his child, I sent word to Governor DeWine and inquired if the governor might send a congratulatory message to the family.”

    Sure enough, he did. “The governor wrote a beautiful letter complete with the state seal.  Won’t that be a nice addition to the family scrapbook!”

    Letters from Ms. Pat have a purpose, and Ms. Pat says she has a plan. “To date, I have written 425 letters.  I plan to continue until I reach 1000.”

    Today, Ms. Pat continues to pen her letters to every service dog team that graduates from 4 Paws but it’s the gratitude she receives that keeps her writing. “A number of client families have sent messages of appreciation which is motivating. The staff makes you feel that you are the most important volunteer ever. What could be more rewarding: a staff who loves and appreciates you, grateful client families, fellow volunteers, and puppy breath!”