Helping

Friday, September 1st, 2017 11:30 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
Went and donated dog and cat food, litter, and some assorted toys and care products to the LA SPCA today to help with hurricane relief efforts. Let the strong young men volunteering there do all the lifting. They were thankful for the help. Just wish I could do more.
leopardwolf: (Default)
EDIT: Update On Hope Cat: Great news! Radiology came back clean!! No broken bones. Just really deep punctures. The inflammation is pretty bad and there is some infection, so she has been started on antibiotics. Once that reduces the swelling and everything they will assess if there is any neurological damage. She will be FeLV/FIV tested and put up for adoption. Thank you so much to everyone for sharing her story, for your donations, your prays and positive thoughts for her! Since no major surgery was needed afterall, I will be refunding donations and taking down the emergency fundraiser. Thank you again! --------------------- Writing this exhausted and half asleep to get word out ASAP. I got involved with a cat rescue where cat ended up having badly broken leg and was in shock but injury is old come to find out but she was clearly in pain and distress and no use of leg. So I took her to SPCA clinic and they directed me to the shelter portion for a program they have doing 3 day holds to try and find owner and vet/stabilize cat. But she probably needs amputation. I set up a GoFundMe and will spread it like wildfire to hope we can raise the money to help her because the SPCA program might not have funds and if they deem her not adoptable they would otherwise euthanize her, even if she would be adoptable after the surgery and recovery.
leopardwolf: (Default)
My birthday is this week, May 21st. This is the new service dog fundraiser. If you have a few bucks to spare, please consider helping. Pass it along too. Thank you.

http://www.youcaring.com/brittney-steptoe-570453
leopardwolf: (Default)
As I mentioned in my last post, I recently took a trip to Pennsylvania to attend a CPL support class and meet some of their dogs and working teams and to get some hands on participation. I found out all the alert dogs they had available have been paired with other people that were on the waiting list ahead of me, and there are still others waiting. So I wouldn't be getting paired with a dog this year unless they came across one from another source, which is unlikely.

A few days before our flight home, my friend Christy messages me to ask if I had found any new prospects, since she knew what had happened with Journey washing out from the hip dysplasia. I told her what I had just learned from CPL.

It was then that she told me her family had come into the possession of a little male German Shepherd puppy, and that they wanted to give him to me if I wanted him. They know how valuable service dogs are, Christy being an owner-trainer herself.






Shocked and humbled by their offer, but very hesitant to try again because of what happened with Journey and the hip dysplasia, Mike and I began doing some serious talking and considering. It could be up to 2yrs before CPL might find the right dog to pair me with.

I'm not sure how much longer Ember will be able to work. She's starting to show signs of her age when she works on top of her damaged toe issue. She won't be around forever, as much as I hate to think that way. She's 10yrs old, and most service dogs retire around this age.

On top of that, I have to come up with over $5,000 just so I can go and get a dog when CPL finds one to pair me with. That covers the expense of hotel for a month and some other expenses, but there is also needing to pay for travel expenses for myself and someone to come with me, which is another issue.

I need someone to be with me during the entire month of team training. I originally thought mom would be able to do it, but she has to take care of my grandmother and their dog, who cannot be left alone. Mike and my aunt cannot take that long off work. There aren't many other options that won't be awkward or expensive unless I can find a friend or volunteer to go with me.

So after discussing this with family, we finally decided it was worth the risk to try again with a new puppy and for me to owner-train it in hopes it will work out.

Our reasons were pretty simple. If this new puppy works out, I save $5,000 and the stress of having to somehow raise such a large sum all at once, possibly on very short notice, to afford the travel and hotel expenses to stay the month for team training at CPL, in the event I couldn't find volunteer housing or other ways to save on cost. Even if I could I am still looking at over $2,000 for expenses.

If by some stroke of luck CPL does find a dog to pair me with *before* I finish training this puppy and have a chance to see if he'll really work out as an assistance dog, then I always have the option to rehome him if necessary like I did with Journey.

If I end up having to wait nearly 2yrs anyway in hopes of being matched with a CPL dog, we should know by then or even before then if this new pup will work out.

He comes from working lines, his parents look solid and no history of issues, and his paws are huge for his size. He's going to be a good sized dog when he grows up and fills out. He's a lot like Journey in a lot of ways, but also vastly different in many others. He's insanely smart and responsive and already catching on to things fast like Journey did, and he is just making 7 weeks old.

Still, our experience with Journey makes this a very difficult decision. To put that much into a dog only to find out the hip dysplasia is there. I would rather know sooner than later, and there is some sort of version of the OFA hip/elbow screening that can actually be run on puppies instead of having to wait till they are almost 2yrs old for growth plates to close.

The problem is that testing is very expensive from what I understand. It would be worth it for peace of mind to know the dog I am putting work into is proven solid. But on the other hand it would be heartbreaking to spend that much money on the testing only to have worst fears confirmed and find out I am right back to square one again, and with all funds exhausted.


Either way, I will still be on CPL's waiting list. As long as I keep following up regularly and meet their criteria, I will still have the option of getting a dog through them in the future.

Now I just need to come up with a good name for this little guy.



I am still keeping the fundraising active. It can be found here:


http://www.youcaring.com/brittney-steptoe-428674


I may still need the full amount for getting a dog from CPL, either now or in the future. In the meantime I will also need to cover puppy vet costs and related expenses as the pup matures and for x-ray expenses. Any help with this is greatly appreciated.
leopardwolf: (Default)
(TLDR Version) I went and met with trainers and staff at Canine Partners. I had a chance to work with some of their dogs in the special mobility harnesses they use. They think I'm a good candidate for a service dog through them. I have been added to their waiting list. They're going to start looking for a dog partner that matches my needs. So excited! Now I just need someone who can come with me and stay during the month of team training.



If you'd like to help, please consider donating to the fundraiser and share it:

http://www.youcaring.com/brittney-steptoe-428674


= = = = =





The hotel we stayed at. Funny enough the decor was almost identical to the one we stayed at years ago for training when we worked for Verizon. We had our geek-on with Fallout 4 111 hoodie and Pipboy bag, and Firefox bag. Ember completes the set as Dogmeat ( her nickname ).











Ember laying in her famous "dogball" position at the hotel the morning of the CPL visit. She was minding her own business idly watching us. Then I said "Watch me" to her.






Creek behind the hotel. It was dark when we arrived, but we swore we heard water. Past the parking lot was vast pitch blackness. We found a rock and threw it, to moments later be rewarded with ther ker-SPLOSH sound of water. This is what we found the following morning.






The drive over wasn't too bad. I was playing with my new phone and a holder I got for extended range for photos and video. Maybe pictures with me in them will be less rare now that I can more easily take them myself. Ember sits weirdly and cutely when riding in vehicles.






Sitting at the CPL office waiting to be called over for the client interview. We were a little early. Taz the office cat kept us company and the staff was friendly. I didn't want to be rude by aiming my phone at everything, plus they have privacy policies like doctor's offices do. So behold, Ember and my braces.






We met with the trainers for my client interview. They had 6 or 7 of their own dogs present between the different rooms, and you'd have never known it without seeing them. We settled in and they asked me a lot of questions and we went over various details about their dogs and program. I got a chance to meet and work with two of the dogs directly, whose names were Amber and Moose. This allowed the trainers to see how we moved together, and let me try out their special mobility harness. I basically need a dog around Moose's size that moves at Amber's speed. I asked them if it was okay to snap this picture while we waited for them to get their dogs ready.


Ember was uncertain what to make of all those labs and a doodle present. She was a little concerned when I handed her over to Mike and stepped across the room to work the other dogs, not understanding why it wasn't her helping me. My body was acting up, and Ember alerted during the interview and again when I started to get up to work with the CPL dogs. My meds hadn't quite kicked in so I was hurting and my neurocardio quirks had me riding my personal roller coaster. Thankfully I managed not to fall or run into anything and my joints didn't give out on me in any embarrassing ways, so I think I did pretty good. All the dogs got treats at the end and everyone was happy.


Next we went over to the kennel area for a quick tour and to meet some of the other dogs on site. I decided it was best to leave Ember in the car and use my cane, so she wouldn't get over stimulated by having to ignore the 20 or so dogs in the kennel run and they wouldn't be overly excited by her presence. I didn't get a chance to take any pictures in there as I was too busy keeping myself in an upright position and listening to the trainer showing us around. I had a chance to do some interacting with the dogs, and play the "whoever stays quiet gets a yum" game. Many of them were fresh from their puppy raiser homes. The kennel was actually more empty than normal because a lot of the dogs had gone home with volunteers for the upcoming holiday. So we only got to see a small fraction of the dogs they normally have coming and going at any given time. Overall a very nice facility and the dogs are obviously well cared for.

It was a really nice experience. I'm thankful that CPL was able to accommodate me and schedule a visit early since I was already in the area, and that we found out with enough time to change my flight home. It all fell into place just when it needed to. Huge thanks again to CPL trainers and staff for helping make it happen!

They are having a graduate support class in March that also lines up perfectly with a trade show we want to go to, so we're making plans for me to fly out for both.


Overall, they think that I am a good candidate to receive a service dog from them. I have been added to their waiting list. They're going to start looking for a dog partner that matches my needs. So excited! Now I just need someone who can come with me and stay during the month of team training.
leopardwolf: (Lhunie Floof - Foxfeather)
As of Friday I heard back from CPL about my application for a new assistance dog.

"Your application is with the trainers. I want to let you know that Fall Team Training will start Saturday so we are in hyper drive here so the trainers might not get a chance to review the application until after team training. - Carol"

Fingers crossed this puts me one step closer to being accepted!


http://www.youcaring.com/brittney-steptoe-428674
leopardwolf: (Default)
Caine decided to send me a surprise package with some unexpected trinkets. One thing was a beautiful wall hanging I knew he'd managed to get for me. It's a beautiful color with Celtic design and little Japanese magatama all over it. Which is really symbolic and special.

What I wasn't expecting was a hand formed ceramic dish with a magatama design swirled in the surface, a hematite ring, and a little sculpture of me! He also included a beautiful card with a dragonfly on it, knowing how special they are to me. And a beautiful hand written letter with a little wax seal. It all smelled like patchouli or sandalwood.

It made me cry happy tears when I opened the package and saw everything, and read over the card and letter. How thoughtful and perfect it all was, and couldn't have had better timing with everything that is going on right now.

Thank you so much Caine, you sly Kitsune you. I wondered what you were up to!

As a side note, you are seriously making me want to get one of those markers to make my own wax seals on stuff I send! I have seen them in stores before, but never seen any I really like ( most of them seem to be initials or generic stuff ).





Eternal thanks again goes to Arikla, who helped cover Journey's recent medical bills so we could get a diagnosis.

We wouldn't have been able to afford to get these answers as soon as we did without your generosity. Thank you for caring and for helping so we could have that peace of mind to have a better idea of what is going on with him.

Thanks also for your participation in the "art experiments" as well. :D So many good laughs to be had with all of these things. Can't wait till we can show off the finished products!





I received even more of a surprise in the mail from Amie the other day, in the form of a very generous donation toward the fundraiser for me to acquire a new assistance dog. I cried happy tears of disbelief when I saw it. One raindrop raises the sea.

Even while her and her family are going through a very difficult time right now and she has had a lot more pressing things on her mind to worry about, she was still as compassionate as always and trying to help a friend. It means a lot to me and your selflessness is an inspiration.




I just wanted to take the time to really thank you guys more than I already have, and let you know how much your love and support means to me.
leopardwolf: (Default)
Wow! You guys are awesome! Since the first post, we have already raised $80 and have more on the way for the fundraiser. Please consider donating. Even a $1 goes a long way, because if 50 people donate a $1, that is another $50! If you can find it in you to pass on that Starbucks for one day, toss that $5 our way!

Share and encourage people to check it out and share as well. Remember, you guys are helping me keep my independence and safety by doing this!

Thank you so much!


PayPal is leopardwolf@gmail.com

or


http://www.youcaring.com/brittney-steptoe-428674


or



http://www.gofundme.com/steptoe-sdfund
leopardwolf: (Default)
This fundraiser is to help me acquire a new service dog for mobility assist and medical alert purposes.



I suffer from chronic medical conditions, including a genetic connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos, and conditions that affect my autonomic nervous system, my own causing neurocardiogenic issues with my heart and blood flow.



My service dogs are life savers. They have been trained to sense certain chemical changes and alert me to them, to keep me out of danger. They help me navigate daily life safely.



Journey, my current service dog, has hip dysplasia. Which basically ends his short career as a mobility assist and medical alert service dog. Losing him as my lifeline and partner is a huge loss of freedom for me in my daily life.



I now need to apply through an organization for a new assistance dog. I need to come up with money for the applications fees, which are $25 to $50 per organization. Then wait to be approved and matched with a dog. I need to start a huge fund raising effort to help me get the assistance dog I need, which in the end will likely cost over $5,000.





I don't have the financial ability to owner-trainer another dog myself like I did with Ember (my first dog) and Journey. It took me a year just to find Journey ( after reviewing countless candidates ). It's the risk of owner-training, you might think you find the perfect dog, but something unexpected could always happen.



I can't keep going through dog after dog after dog covering expenses for vet work, training, etc. just to have them not work out and have to start all over again. Which is why I am making the hard decision to turn toward an organization for an already trained dog. Getting one through an organization also means if I have problems in the future, or when the dog is ready to retire, I can get a successor dog through the program.





I will most likely end up approved going through Canine Partners For Life, which is located in Pennsylvania.



I need to travel to their facility for team training, which is a 3 week program. All expenses for travel to get there, hotel, plus transportation while there, cost for food and for admission to places for field trips during team training are my responsibility.



Here is info they give about related expenses coming out of my own pocket:



= = =



To purchase basic supplies for the dog - cost approximately $300-$400.





To travel, at your expense, to CPL for a 3-week, mandatory team training session.





To arrange for your accommodations for the 3-week training session. Cost for hotel and meals are approximately $2000. Free housing with volunteers may be available but not guaranteed.





To arrange and pay for your daily transportation to and from CPL and on field trips for the 3-week training session.







To provide your own meals (breakfast, lunches & dinners) including some field trips out for meals (and for your aide if one accompanies you).







To provide your admission costs for field trips during 3-week training session – approximately $100 to $200 per person (and for aide if one accompanies you).







A requested donation (to be determined by a sliding scale – ranging from $1,000 - $3,000) should be sent to CPL before the start of team training.





Medical Alert students must be accompanied by another person during the entire 3-week team training session. ( *** This applies to me, which means I also need someone to go with me and cover their expenses too )





= = =





This same sort of thing holds true for the other programs I qualify for. I have to travel to their facilities and pay for everything in the process, plus the money for the dog itself. Some organizations are able to offer dogs at no charge to their clients, but none that do service my area, or they do not train dogs to assist with the things I need help with or have other specific requirements for clients that I don't fall under.







I basically have to come up with over $5,000 to get a new service dog, before I can even get the dog.







I am starting that fund raising campaign now, in hopes I will have enough saved by the time I am approved and matched with a dog through one of these programs.







If you want to donate directly to me, my PayPal is leopardwolf@gmail.com



Here are links to fundraisers set both on YouCaring and GoFundMe:


http://www.youcaring.com/brittney-steptoe-428674


http://www.gofundme.com/steptoe-sdfund



You can share those links, this post directly, or both.



I also plan to try to reach out to local charities and businesses for assistance. Either in hopes of sponsorship or that they'd be willing to let me put up donation flyers and collection jars or something similar to help spread awareness and raise the needed funds.





If you are interested in reaching out to businesses or charities in your own area who may be willing to help, if you own a business and would like to help raise funds, or if you would like to help with fund raising through some other means, please contact me at leopardwolf@gmail.com so I can provide you with information on how to do so.





There is no donation too small. We are grateful for any and all financial help in reaching our goal.





Even if you cannot help financially, you can help by spreading word about this and posting it for more people to see. Share it with your family, your friends, and anyone else you think might be interested in helping. Encourage them to pass it along as well.



Feel free to post it to your LJ, FA, Facebook, Twitter, DevArt, Tumblr, blogs, and anywhere else such a post would be allowed.





Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you in advance for you consideration, your thoughts, your time and your donations.




Love and light,

Brittney

Birthday Wish

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 09:25 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
My birthday is coming up on May 21st ( two weeks from now).

I have one big wish I am asking for this year, and hope to somehow make possible.

I want to go visit my dad.


I haven't seen my dad since I was about 3 years old. We recently reconnected with each other this past December, when he found me online.





He stayed in touch long distance throughout my life. We lost contact and track of each other after Katrina. I searched for him online for years and never managed to find anything solid and all the contact info he ever knew for us changed when we lost our house. The one address I did find and send a letter to, was returned by the post office as "undeliverable, address not found". I was worried I may never find him.

Then he found me. I have been so overjoyed with being able to catch up after all these years and have a chance to get to know him better and share stories and memories of childhood.

Our only form of contact has been via phone calls, texting, and online chat sessions when he can get online through the local library for a few hours at a time. He is a telecommunications contractor and having a hard time finding large steady jobs, so his money is extremely limited or else he'd happily be paying part of the expenses to have me come visit.


It would mean so much to me ( and him ) to be able to go see him and would hope to spend a week or so visiting. He's not getting any younger ( no offense dad ), and I want to have an opportunity to visit with him in person while I still can. Many people never get that opportunity. I don't want to be one of them.


We'll need around $1,600 USD for this to happen.


My PayPal: leopardwolf@gmail.com


I am estimating for round trip travel expenses, for having someone take care of my marine aquarium while I am gone, fuel, possible need for lodging (not sure I can make the full drive in a single day with my health issues ), food expenses for the trip and while I am there, and some extra spending money to be able to take my dad to do some nice things and for any unseen circumstances.


I'll be documenting the trip along the way, so you'll get to share in the adventure and the reunion through pictures and video.


If you have a few dollars to spare, I would be eternally grateful if you'd consider contributing to giving the gift of spending time with my dad in person after so long apart.



I'd create a crowdfunding thing for this, but didn't have a lot of success with them in the past outside of friends helping ( thanks again you guys! ). I'm not sure if it's the kind of thing people would care about enough to help, since it's not a medical necessity ( sure it is! ) and I really don't have a lot to offer in return besides art and creative things or my supplies and materials for such things. I could do dog and cat training and behavior consults in exchange. Website and graphics stuff too.



While this doesn't have to happen by May 21st, I am hoping to make the trip within the next month if I can raise the funds.


Thank you for taking the time to read.


You have permission to share / repost / reblog this to help spread the word so more people might see it and want to help.

Giving

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 06:15 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
Journey and I just got back from Walmart. It was a madhouse. We grabbed what we needed, expecting to be in and out, and stood in line. The lady behind us was with her daughter. They were buying brownies for a school party tomorrow. We were chatting and they asked me about Journey. There was a delay ahead of us, and come to find out the checkout registers crashed while we were waiting in line and they could only run cash or check. Lucky for me this was one of the only times I actually had come in intending to pay with cash!

The lady made the comment that she didn’t have any cash, only credit when the store manager started making the announcement that they couldn’t run cards. She told her daughter they’d have to put the brownies back and not get them, and the girl was obviously sad.

So I offered to pay for them! This got a big smile from them both and the cashier too. We walked out to the parking lot together and I told them more about Journey’s job and about Ember, and it turns out the mother is a teacher at a local school and asked if I would be willing to come give a presentation to the kids if they could get the okay for it. So I gave them a card and my contact info, and we’ll see what happens.

Either way, days were made brighter. I wished them a merry Christmas and happy new year and off we went.

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LeopardWolf - Lhunpaurwen - Lhunie

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