Sponsor a Client

Chaplain April Alford-Harkey and her therapeutic service dog Sandy are an integral part of St. Vincent’s Special Needs pastoral care. Sandy and April help motivate young students and the developmental center to do their daily occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Sandy has helped motivate students to push their own wheelchairs down the hall to give her a pat on the head.

My name is Karen Lohr and I’ve been matched with Sasha since October 2013. When I applied for a service dog in February 2013 I didn’t know quite how much my life would change. It had been just over a year since my neck injury that left me an incomplete quadriplegic; and six years since a neuromuscular disease had caused initial lower leg paralysis. In the year since my neck injury I had missed almost 8 months of work, had neck fusion surgery, lived in a nursing home for 2 ½ months, had countless hours of doctor’s appointments and physical therapy; yet I was determined to go back to my fulltime job at UConn and continue living by myself. After all, I had moved to Connecticut from Arizona for my job & sled hockey, and my family lived hundreds of miles away.

Hello, my name is Connie St. Onge Post. About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with atypical disc disease, meaning the discs in my spine are aging and breaking down at a faster than normal rate causing continuous pain. Ten years ago the pain became so overwhelming that I was forced to retire from my job of 28 years. The physical and mental toll has been devastating.

I was diagnosed with ALS this past June of 2013. It has been a challenging journey for me and my loving family dealing with this every moment of every day. ALS is a degenerative Motor Neuron Disease. At this point, I have begun to walk with a walker. I keep active, go to work every day, and am driving. As the disease progresses, these activities will become more challenging. Not long after hearing about the work done at NEADS and going through an interview, they provided a beautiful yellow lab named Swanson in March of 2014. She has been such a blessing. Aside from performing tasks that help get me through the day (fetching, retrieving, opening doors, etc), she has brought a sense of joy and peace to our family which was absent for a while. I am now taking care of Swanson so she can take care of me.

Injured in a car accident in 1982, Cyndi is an incomplete parapalegic and needs to use a cane to help her get around. She attends Charter Oak State College as a commuting student and a dog would be a great friend and assistant.