It’s been a year, as many of you know.

We started the year so positive. Even when we were under 5 feet of snow with drifts well over our heads, everything was okay. J-Bear was healthy. Brookie had arrived. Everything was going to be great now, right?

Then the accidents kept happening, in public of all places. The warning bells really began to ring when they happened at home. Something was just wrong. She was sick, and then she got even more sick.

We loved her through it. Even J doted upon her, for she was as part of us all as he is.

The accidents continued. Accidents and service dogs don’t mix. We knew she was an anxious girl but we just couldn’t figure out the crux of this issue.

And I stupidly trusted the wrong people.

Brookie went back to Ohio. I never should have brought her, but I did. From there, I was bullied and lied to repeatedly, backed into a corner by the founder of 4 Paws constantly and disallowed contact with any other. When I did reach out to the head trainer, I discovered things were not as they were depicted.

3 days later she was taken away. 3 days later, we were accused of abuse… but put into the July 2016 class.

Folks, the tale you’re being told about our experience with 4 Paws for Ability is a sham. We were in a future class. I asked, in November, to be removed from the class and have funds sent to our new agency to secure a dog there for J. If we’re such terribly abusive people, why on earth would they have placed us in a class or given our funds to another agency to place another animal in our home? Why would all of Brookie’s vet reports note a dog in wonderful condition who was extremely sweet and loving? Why would none of our vet care (her regular vet and the hospital she was cared for by) be contacted about such allegations? Why would no local to us who actually spent time with us regularly be reached out to?

Instead, in October 2015, Brookie was placed with another family. This family lives in a foreign country and I cannot state this enough: They are absolutely innocent in everything going on here. They are likely completely ignorant of what has gone on and of this dog’s full history. My heart hurts for them. I fear them getting hurt as we were. I do not want this poor dog disrupted anew, nor do I want to see their child ache as mine does. They are likely good, kind people who were out to do for their child what we did for ours: give them an amazing resource and a bridge to a world frequently inaccessible to them. I want success for them. I want joy, peace and calm for them. I want them to know how loved she was, and for them to have every possible tool to make this work.  This is why I will never publicly identify anything about them. I want them protected, not harmed or bullied like we have been.

That’s not coming from 4 Paws for Ability, who handled this situation appallingly. This is an organization that has the pieces within it to be tremendous yet without solid, positive, committed and transparent leadership will do nothing but flounder as it is right now. Their clients deserve well trained, ready to work dogs that go home prepared for their new lives… the way things used to be many many months ago there. The trainers have the skills, they just need the ability and resources with which to exercise these skills without upper level greed and blindness disrupting the process.

Also, if your big thing is to brag that you only have 80 foster homes for 400 dogs, as their director has done… That’s something you need to clearly reevaluate. Not a bragging point.

2016 is the year I do not get bullied. It is the year we find collaboration, healing and a tremendous opportunity to learn. I will get to take part in the raising of J’s new dog from the very start I hope and for that I am overwhelmingly excited. Learning is something I love, and learning something that will help my child for many years to come is a gift for which I can never repay this group enough. I am excited to also be able to give back to them and help them further their mission. They are good people, kind-hearted and dedicated. It will be nice to just spend time with them and the dogs of the program… Nice as well as healing.

2015, you destroyed me and my family in a lot of ways. You devastated my mental health… but I will fight back. Worse than you has not killed me yet though it has tried. I have lost a lot of people who lied and called themselves friends but I have gained so very much more.

2016 will be good. I can’t wait to share that with you all. Thank you again, for all the love and support you offer. We could not do this without you.