Karen Lohr & Sasha

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My name is Karen Lohr and I’ve been matched with Sasha since October 2013. When I applied for a service dog in February 2013 I didn’t know quite how much my life would change.  It had been just over a year since my neck injury that left me an incomplete quadriplegic; and six years since a neuromuscular disease had caused initial lower leg paralysis. In the year since my neck injury I had missed almost 8 months of work, had neck fusion surgery, lived in a nursing home for 2 ½ months, had countless hours of doctor’s appointments and physical therapy; yet I was determined to go back to my fulltime job at UConn and continue living by myself. After all, I had moved to Connecticut from Arizona for my job & sled hockey, and my family lived hundreds of miles away. 

Sasha has helped me stay employed fulltime and feel much safer living alone; recently she “fetched phone” in an emergency situation. She loves to help when we’re out and about by carrying things for me, opening doors with the power push buttons, and picking up my keys the countless times I drop them. At home, she will open the fridge, carry water bottles, open & close doors, and even helps load the laundry in the machine! Sasha helps slow me down by not too much at once since I need to attend to her as well; and yet she also keeps up with our busy lifestyle and loves going to new places with me. Sasha is a constant companion and when I’m not feeling well, she will snuggle next to me as if she is trying to make me feel better.  

In the 1 ½ years I’ve had Sasha, she has become well-known on the UConn campus in Storrs, CT. I joke that Sasha thinks she is a college student and her training in a prison sure helped get her ready for life on a busy & noisy college campus. Students often stop by my office seeking out Sasha because they’ve had a bad day, need puppy snuggle time, or just want to see the friendly furry face that will lick their hands and snuggle next to them on the couch if needed. Sasha seems to know when a student is in crisis or needs that extra love & attention that only a dog can offer. Sasha has earned the title of the “South Campus mascot” well!

As part of a service dog commitment, I have been asked to help with fundraising efforts to defray the costs of the dog’s specialized training. Each dog is trained to meet the specific requirements of his or her future partner. The cost to train a service dog to assist me exceeds $25,000, and my goal is $9,500. Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help defray the costs of the specialized training? Gifts of any size would be appreciated.

I can never thank the NEADS trainer, weekend puppy raisers, and the prison inmate trainer enough for all the training, hard work, and love they put into Sasha; as well as the numerous people donating and helping with my fundraising. Getting Sasha has truly been a life changer!