Our family chose to wait until our children were a little older before starting the application process for a NEADS service dog. However, now, our long and patient wait is down to just a few months, making this International Day of Persons with Disability our day to kick start the fundraising needed to bring a professionally trained service dog home to assist Geoff. The theme for 2017’s International Day of Persons with Disability is:
“Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all.”
There are some key words here including transformation, sustainability and resiliency— all of which are important to living and thriving despite one’s disability. I can think of no better way to celebrate this “transformation toward a more sustainable and resilient society for all” than by bringing a service dog into Geoff’s world. Geoff’s world (our world) is a pretty awesome place all things considered. We are the poster children for the objectives associated for this Day of Persons with Disabilities and Their Communities. Seriously, we should be their cover photo.
According to the United Nations (http://www.un.org/en/events/disabilitiesday/) if you want to make a difference in the world of disability not only on Dec. 3, consider taking action in the following ways:
- Highlight best practices and think about making recommendations to your local political leaders, businesses, academic institutions, cultural centers and others. Work to ensure that your activity leaves a legacy and brings about lasting change.
- Focus on issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development, both as beneficiaries and agents of change.
- Discuss and share ways of including and empowering persons of all abilities to develop and be fully included in their local communities.
- Celebrate the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of change in the communities in which they live.
- Create opportunities to help realize their potential, be it through music, sport, academia or interpersonal skills.
Geoff does all of these both as an individual working at Loon Mountain in their Snowsports School and as Director of Eastern Adaptive Sports in the summer months. He does all of these as an educator when he visits schools to talk with students about overcoming challenges of all shapes and sizes. He does all of these as a North Woodstock resident when he wheels in and around local businesses– those which are accessible and those which are not. He does all of these as a dad when he is problem solving an issue with our children. He does all of these as an empathetic listener when he speaks on the phone with an individual or family member of someone who has recently suffered a spinal cord injury.
Due to his ability to make life easier for countless others who are struggling with disability in different ways, he deserves the opportunity to have his own life made a little easier by the presence of a service dog. We are just beginning our relationship with NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services, also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans) yet we know and understand this relationship to be one of the most important of our lives. Geoff is excited to be part of this process; his application has been accepted; he participated in a lengthy interview to see how a service dog might best fit his needs; now we wait, and while we wait, we raise money to support the training which is necessary in the development of these incredible service dogs.
Our dear friend Chris Slavin embarked on this journey with her side kick Earle. Together they write a blog from Earle’s point of view, which I read regularly aloud to our children. They think Earle is just about the BEST service dog ever– he’s so smart he can even write! For more information about how a service dog is going to positively impact Geoff’s world, please check out Earle’s FB page as he is very entertaining and does tremendous good here on earth (https://www.facebook.com/EarleTheServiceDog/)
Furthermore, should you like to make this wish come true for a Krill Service Dog to aid Geoff in the work he does daily, please consider making a donation on our behalf. Thank you very much. If you are in the area between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1, please consider eating at Gordi’s Fish and Steakhouse and mention “Geoff’s Quest for a Service Dog”. Gordi’s has generously agreed to donate 10% of food sales to go towards NEADS in honor of Geoff’s future service dog’s training. Otherwise, check out the link below should you wish to make a donation. Forever grateful…
Love, Geoff, Heather, Carver, and Greta Krill