Meet that Raiser – Becky & Katie Annis
Name: Becky & Katie Annis
Occupation: Becky- Administrator of Pond Home & The Community at Pond Meadow; Katie goes to a vocational program run by HMEA where she delivers meals-on-wheels, works at food banks, and volunteers in other helpful capacities.
Prison: Norfolk, but in the past was at Baystate, & Pondville with NEADS
Current Pup: Josy, 17 months young
How long have you been a Weekend Puppy Raiser and how many dogs have you raised? (Include furloughed dogs and the one you are currently raising).
Katie and I have been doing this for 7 1/2 – 8 years. Josy is our 6th pup – we had Cameron, Sasha, Warren, Mimi, Montana, and Josy. The first two were yellow labs and were furloughed. The next 3 are black labs that have been successfully placed – Warren as an Assistance Dog for the Classroom, Mimi as a Service Dog for a Child, and Montana as a Srvice Dog. Josy seems well on her way to keeping our record of success with black labs!
What led you to Weekend Puppy Raising?
We had put our most recent dog, Sampson (a yellow lab) down about 6 months before and we were itching to get another dog. We saw the add about being a weekend puppy raiser in the local paper and responded. This has been a great way to fill our need for a dog without the full-time responsibility. It works well with our life.
If you had your own talk show, who would your first 3 guests be?
Becky: Steven Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Carol Burnett – it would be one fun show!
Katie would invite her friends Lexi, Nicole, and Timmy. She thinks her show would be even more fun than Becky’s!
If you had one extra hour of free time a day what would you do with it?
Becky: Write a book! I have the outline.
Katie: Spend more time in nature.
Would you rather be able to speak all foreign languages or talk to animals?
Becky: speak all foreign languages, then I would take classes in diplomacy and work for world peace! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Katie: Talk to animals, of course!
If you could visit one place in the world where would it be and why?
Becky: Bhutan, a country in Asia that is considered one of the happiest countries in the world. They have been successful with improving their economy while focusing on the happiness of their inhabitants and the environment, admirable concerns from my point of view.
Katie: Florida, because that is where my sister Heather lives, and I miss her.
Are you a listener or a talker?
Becky: I have been told I have good listening skills, but I certainly love to talk!
Tell us your favorite part about being a Weekend Puppy Raiser or your favorite memory with one of the NEADS pups.
Becky: My favorite memory came very early in my experience with NEADS. I was waiting with a new little pup, Cameron, outside of a hospital. The NEADS trainer Dawn was meeting me there to show me the ropes on one of our first weekends. While we were waiting, and I was telling Cameron BGN, I noticed a man taking interest in us. He eventually came over and said, “That’s a NEADS dog, I thought so!”
Then he shared that his brother had recently received a NEADS dog, and it had changed his life. His brother was a veteran, recently back and had PTSD to the point where he wasn’t leaving the house. To calm him at night, this man had moved in with his brother. But, since the NEADS dog had arrived the veteran had been able to stay alone with the dog overnight and go to the mall and the movies- really big, positive steps according to the brother. That made me see early on, these dogs have far reaching capacity to do good. It was such an amazing moment in time that I accused Dawn of setting it up when she arrived. What ever made this wonderful thing occur it cemented my enthusiasm for NEADS.
Of course, I have also enjoyed the unique personalities of each dog we have had and love the entertainment they bring to our daily lives.
Katie remembers getting Warren for the first time when he was a little puppy and loving helping him experience everything for the first time. That is probably her favorite time with all the dogs we have had- helping them experience “firsts”. It is an honor to get to do it.