Posts Tagged ‘NEADS’

Tonight I am writing about a dog. Actually I am writing about two dogs. Two dogs and a new friend, who is now an old friend. Sometimes when life is going by, you are more of an observer than a participant.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a faraway land, I was a singer in a chorus. I didn’t do much else in that season. I certainly wasn’t getting good grades, I was lost and adrift. I was anchored to the singing group and the friends I made. I was very lucky, and the group was the UP Concert Chorus, and the conductor was the genius and angel Rey T. Paguio.

Now that I am fifty-two, I realize that life is an ocean and waves bring treasures from the deep. People I thought were washed into the past keep rolling up onto shore like rare seashells.

Back in 2005 I got out of the hospital and was driven to get in touch with my old friends who were in the area. We began the back and forth, tossing out possible reunion houses, and dates. One of my friends who lives in Kuala Lumpur nudged me to invite Norma Ramirez.

Norma was a jazz vocalist back in the day. By the time I joined the Concert Chorus, she had moved on to singing with a great band, Bong Penera’s Batucada. She had a hit, “Samba Song”.

Back then, I was an alto two who couldn’t read music, and Norma was a goddess. When I got the nudge, I hesitated because I didn’t know what to say. Would she remember me? So I picked up the phone and called her in New Hampshire. Her warm voice filled the space and I listened.

We had a lot in common because of our hospital experience. She had a rich and interesting life. Being wheelchair bound didn’t seem to affect her joie de vivre. I had deep empathy for her situation, and we made arrangements to have the reunion at Bugaboo Creek because it had handicapped access.

On the day of the reunion, she and her trusty sidekick, Sasquatch the service dog made a grand and merry entrance. Sasquatch trotted alongside the power chair. He settled under the table for the duration of the lunch. Oh, how the time flew. Such a beautiful day it was.

Not a week after we met, I got the news that Sasquatch was afflicted with a brain tumor. The news was so devastating, and I cried because it seemed so cruel that she would have to go through this loss. The news made me catch my breath and relay it to the kids in a panic. I was so shaken with the bad news.

The UP Concert Chorus family rallied around her and raised money for treatment and saw her through Sasquatch’s treatment and apparent remission.

This this spring sorrow came and Sasquatch succumbed. The whole story is on the blog http://newdogfornorma.blogspot.com

In the painful weeks after Sasquatch’s death, a grass roots fundraising campaign was set into to motion to get a new dog for Norma. The initial hurdle was $2,000, the necessary amount to open an account at NEADS (Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans). NEADS was founded in 1976, and is a top rated charity, certified by Animal Charities in America, and Best in America Charities). Their executive board is top notch, and their reputation is stellar. They are a beautifully run, professional non-profit organization that anyone should feel honored to support.

An anonymous donor gave a large amount. UP Concert Chorus friends jumped into action. Facebook opened doors. Friends of my effervescent daughter Mercy, Bud’s high school classmates, our neighbors here, and my online classmates gave money. It added up and in no time we were at the necessary threshold of $2,000.

Then, this week, the good news came. A new dog had been found for Norma, and the match was perfect. Just like that, the sorrow has receded, and I could sense joy in my friend’s voice.

Now that NEADS has matched a dog to Norma, the fundraising will continue until the necessary $9,500 is raised. Donors can give at the site, and be assured of seamless recording of donations at this top rated charity.

Please visit Norma’s new page at NEADS and give if you are inspired to do so. In a world where so many things go wrong, it is good to know that places like NEADS thrive and match service dogs with people who have lost a lot, but who have not lost hope.

Hope has four legs and a wagging tail. Check out this wonderful organization, and donate if you can. Donations begin at $10.00. Here is Norma’s NEADS donation link http://neads.org/about_us/client_view.php?id=180

When my adventure with Norma began, I had no idea that sadness was just around the bend. I had no idea that I would be stretched and tested in my abilities to pull rabbits out of hats, to keep calm and hopeful and believe that the money would come in. We achieved our goal and then Cozy, the new dog, came along. Thanks to everyone who helped, and thanks to those who will be inspired to help in this new phase. God Bless us all!

Meet Cozy!


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: