From: Watertown, MA
Program: Assistance Dog
Minimum Goal: $8,000 | Amount Raised:$729
I am an Episcopal priest and Board Certified Chaplain, and have worked as one of the chaplains at Boston Medical Center (BMC) since 2002. BMC is a safety net hospital; in other words, it accepts patients who are uninsured and under-insured. Often the patients I visit are the people who inhabit the very margins of society. Our patients are struggling with a host of issues: limited or no English, poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, trauma, profound loss, and addiction. Many appreciate a chaplain visit since the luxury of therapy or counseling isn’t an option for them. They rarely have the opportunity of sitting with someone who listens with compassion and caring, and offers emotional and spiritual support to their shaken and shattered lives. Many times, I hear how their spirituality is a source of resilience as they share the story of their life – a life that often from a very early age is filled with abuse, neglect and trauma.
As a chaplain I offer my presence, and honor the person before me and their narrative as sacred. I first need to hear a patient’s brokenness, pain and anger before a sense of healing can begin; and that healing happens in the sacred space that is created between us and God. Given my love of dogs and personally experiencing their healing presence, I began to think how I could be a chaplain with a 4-legged assistant next to me sharing this sacred space.
One of my work colleagues, Sheryl Katzanek, the Director of Patient Advocacy, started Healing Pups, a dog therapy program for our patients. Knowing that two of the Healing Pups team members were specially trained through NEADS, I applied for an Assistance Dog. In my interview I learned that for some people who experience pain, petting a dog actually helps them be able to speak more about their pain. When I translate that concept into chaplaincy I could see that the presence of an Assistance Dog would provide calm and comfort for a patient which would enable them to share more of the spiritual, emotional and physical distress they may be experiencing. My hope is that with your support, our patients will experience the calming and spiritual presence of a chaplain team.
*NEADS clients pledge to raise a minimum of $8,000 for the organization, thus allowing us to fulfill our mission of placing Service Dogs with individuals who benefit from them the most. Each donation ensures that NEADS will continue to change lives with our World Class Service Dogs.
On our donation form, pick the name of the client you want to sponsor under the Program Menu and check whether or not we can share your contact information with the client. Client fundraising totals are manually updated weekly (not automatically) which allows 100% of each donation to be allocated towards each client’s fundraising goal.