What is the most rewarding aspect of the work that you do on behalf of Veterans and their families?
I think that probably the best way to describe the most rewarding aspect, it would be highlighted in an event that took place last night. We had a chance to meet with a couple of handlers that we haven’t spent time with because of geographic. You know, Canada is a big country? When you realize you had a part in changing their lives in a very positive way, it becomes a very powerful experience, you know it’s the old story of throwing the starfish back in the ocean. There is maybe thousands of them but you made a difference to that one and you know one by one we keep putting the starfish back in the ocean and it touches you, it gives you a real purpose
What’s next is a little bit complicated because the service dog’s space is one that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. We are currently working on development of national standards along with the Canadian general standards’ award and a lot of other very dedicated organizations. We are quite heavily involved in the advocacy study there’s work that is ongoing because there is discrimination built in the tax code that we are working on. And those are all sort of ongoing and identified. The challenge now becomes the addressing of what is an inevitable supply and demand crisis. We have been lucky to pair with an academic resource that’s going to help us build the model that can show the government what is this going to look like and what the cost actually will be. That has become a real priority. On one hand we still have the day to day operational delivery of the service dog and on the other side there is another entire arm that deals with kind of legislative and administrative and those type of things. So what’s next is very much going to be the continuation of those. I have been very blessed, I have an amazing team that’s with me. The use of the resources we have becomes a balancing act because program delivery is our absolute number one focus because those people need it. Often times, people say to us “what’s the cost of a service dog” and at the end of it I don’t even care because the people who need them have already payed the price. So that’s our primary focus but we still have to deal with all those other issues so that we can make the program delivery as beneficial, as streamline, as optimum as possible. There is alot of work in that needs to be done and we are not the only one working in that space and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations they can help us move those yardsticks to the goal line.
Thank you to Paws Fur Thought!