learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Month: October 2014 (Page 2 of 2)

It’s A…


Everyone, I am so pleased to introduce J’s best friend, the newest member of our family:

This is Brooklyn. She is part of the Cities Litter born on 11-21-2013 and named by the Falzarano family in honor of their beautiful son Hawke. Hawke passed away before he could meet his service dog because of a seizure disorder. This is the second litter they have named, as each of their sons have a city middle name themselves. If you would like to learn more about Hawke and his family, please go here.

This is our beautiful new girl!

brooklyn boy

She is an English Cream Golden Retriever. Look at her swooshy tail! J will be -over the moon- for her, and given her heritage she ought to have just the right amount of mischief to fit into our family seamlessly.

I thought at first that Brooklyn was a boy. It was hilarious to find out after I emailed family that I had to email them again and correct her gender, but I am sure she will forgive me my faux pas.

That beautiful face right there? Everyone who has cheered us on and helped us along the way has made this possible. That smile is as much for you all as it is for my beloved boy and in 11 days, we’ll get to see them both together for the first time! I cannot wait, and we have plenty of tennis balls awaiting her!

Where We Are

I look at where we are today and I cannot help but to be awed and humbled.

Last year,  midway through our fundraising for 4 Paws, I wrote a post about how important the dog would be to us and how yes, I am very determinedly focused on the cause of getting the dog and getting to the dog. You see, I had been mocked. I had been mocked harshly for working on “my precious dog” like it was some frivolous, useless cause.

That person is gone. They didn’t get to continue this journey with us. It feels like the rest of the world took their place instead and it blows me away.

When you engage in the 4 Paws for Ability program, it changes your life before you even meet your dog. You apply, you speak with Karen Shirk, the executive director and you sort out just what would be best for you and your family. 4 Paws is good at what they do. They know how to best help our kids, even when we’re not entirely sure of that ourselves. Then they link you up with a support group filled with families who have stood where you stood. The group combines new families just starting their fundraising, people who are finished fundraising and await their assigned training class and families already with their dogs. There is additional support from families and individuals who foster dogs and support the 4 Paws program.

You are never alone on the journey, not even when you truly feel like you are.

Then of course angels step in your path all along the way, like the Ride to Give Army, like all the absolutely amazing people – friends, family, strangers alike – who helped us raise the initial funds to be placed in our class. You make lifelong friends and your family simply grows. People get to know your child and join their journey…

I said to my mother Monday that my son finds his people. This journey, from the start til today, is living proof.

Twelve days stand between now and when my son will meet his friend, his companion and his helper. We do not know what they look like yet or what their name is, but the moment I do believe me I will be shouting it from the rooftops. If I could there’d be billboards from here to Boston and back again to celebrate the occasion! Everyone will know and when there are photos of them meeting, I will be quick to share them too.


Because it’s the help of all of you that made it possible. You’re bringing a boy and his precious dog together. Like our fundraising t-shirts said… There’s nothing like a boy and his dog.


The image from our t-shirts, courtesy of the generous Derek Benson.

PS: For those new to the blog, I refer to dog regularly as Dog to be Named Later. I was a seven season employee of the Boston Red Sox. Baseball has a wonderful place in our family, hence the dog’s current in flux name being that. 🙂

Everyday Miracles


J doing what J does best: consume donuts.


Where do I even start this post. I am going back and forth between shaking and crying and for one of the rare few times in my life, it is not over something horrible happening.

That’s what I am used to, you know? Bad news, all that good stuff. I am a pro at disasters. You give me something amazing and I walk around it warily like it’s a velociraptor preparing to strike.

But goodness comes. Miracles happen, and they come out of the clear sunny blue.

Not too long ago the organization Ride to Give  helped one of J’s classmate’s family fundraise to get them from their home to Ohio for training with their service dog. We applied, but we continued fundraising on our own. And everyone – We did a great job. Every one of you who shared, who donated, who participated in the giveaway, and who just supported us made it pretty good. We raised part of what we needed – enough for one major cost, but we still had a shortfall.

Then I get a message: We can help. We had, that same day, sat looking at numbers and realizing the enormity of what lay before us. Medical bills, car repairs, household expenses… Life adds up, and it’s been adding up fast this year. J’s dog is so, so important to him; to his future and his comfort that any sacrifice was on the table to make this happen for him.

This tremendous organization showed up and has reached out to help remove our greatest burdens of fear and stress. Ride to Give has taken up J’s cause and is helping us raise additional funds for our travel and our dog’s care.

There are not enough words. There are not.

To those who found us through Ride to Give, thank you. You are giving a family peace. You are helping my son meet a service dog who will see him through hard days to come. Medical tests will no longer need to require horror. Visits to new places will not need to be faced like a battle in a long war but instead the adventure they actually are. He will have comfort. He will have security. He will have an even brighter future, and now, you’re all a part of it. Welcome to our little online family. I look forward to sharing J meeting his dog with all of you.

Thank you. The words are small, but they’re from my heart and I cannot say them enough. Thank you.

J’s campaign can be found here: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/bsve8/ab/b3pd72

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