CALGARY RAISERS – MIKE & FAMILY

When you get involved with PADS your perspective changes. We don’t talk about years, months, or days, with regards to time but about dogs. I have been involved with PADS for a lot of dogs, so if we do think in dog years, that’s about 56 years.

We have raised Tully, Fossie, Rosemary, Roma, Prada, Spirit, Keys, and Lennon, and been dog sitters for many others over those years. When I say we, I include my wife Michelle, my daughters Samantha and Lynsey, Heather, Wendy, Miranda, Jackie, Vern, Laura, Marie, Jocelyn, Tara, Kevin, Dorothy, Rob, Ross, Troy, Madilyn, Amy, and the many others in the PADS family over those years that have offered support, encouragement, and friendship. They are all “dog people”.

PADS is a family that comes together and accomplishes a common goal, to help people in our community that can benefit from an assistance companion. They are not “just dogs”. Each companion we raise is as unique as each person you know, they communicate differently, they show affection differently, they express sadness differently, but they love unconditionally!

Our companions arrive at our home at about 8 weeks old, with fresh puppy breath, and we pass the torch, not give them away, at about 18 to 24 months, when they smell like a dog. We pass that torch to an individual in our community that needs a best friend, a companion, a helping hand. There is no better reward than to see and hear how that action, has changed a life, or lives, in a positive way.

Personally, when most children are moving out of the house and leaving the nest, PADS offered me a way to stay connected to my daughter with a passion we share, a companion we share, a goal we share. I think she likes hanging out with the old guy sometimes. PADS and the opportunity to raise companions glues us together.

Sometimes it’s not easy. There are issues, questions, a few struggles – will we be successful and meet our goal? I think at times Tully, Fossie, Rosemary, Roma, Prada, Spirit, Keys, and Lennon were raising us to be better people, and me to be a better dad. Not us raising them, but them teaching us.

We have been blessed and sometimes get to see the fruit of our efforts with visits, emails from the gang, and maybe a picture or two on Facebook. It’s really inspiring! Additionally, the first one we raised, Tully, retired early. We adopted her with open arms, and she gives her love back to us every day. I think she moved home to help us raise companions, puppies are her specialty, or maybe she had a few more things to teach us.

If you are reading this, and are not part of the family, do it. Get involved. You will not have a more rewarding experience than raising a companion, and then giving them away. You may have to trust me on that point, I do have 56 years of experience after all!

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All PADS assistance dogs are provided to clients at no cost. Behind each and every success story is a donor who makes this possible.

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