Low-income senior receives therapy dog as donation

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”  As dog lovers know, our canine friends offer pure unconditional love and loyalty, playing many roles in our lives: family member, psychiatrist, friend and defender.

Ari Yoder experienced this relationship with her beloved service dog, Sammy.  Sammy was her constant companion and, in addition to being her service dog, was also a therapy dog.  Together, they volunteered in a drug treatment facility where Sammy had regular pet therapy groups.

Wish recipient Ari Yoder with her new dog, Danny.Sadly, Sammy became seriously ill at the age of nine and had to be euthanized.  His death left Yoder heartbroken and she could not bear to replace him for several years.

But, time heals all wounds, and she recently realized that she missed the constant companionship of a dog, as well as the volunteer work that the two of them did together.  But, because she lives on a fixed income, she could not afford the start-up costs associated with adopting a dog.

Yoder, 69, submitted an application to Twilight Wish Foundation, a national nonprofit that grants wishes to low-income seniors, asking for assistance with the costs associated with adopting a dog such as adoption fees, immunizations, and supplies.  Twilight Wish accepted her wish application and worked hard to raise the funds to cover Yoder’s adoption expenses.

Many groups and individuals were also touched by her story on Facebook and the Twilight Wish website and donated generously.  Happily, Yoder found Danny, a six-year-old Golden Labrador, at a local shelter, and adopted him on Thursday, March 22, 2013.

Yoder has been active in community service since she was in high school, including volunteering with the Peace Corps in Micronesia and serving as a disaster specialist for the American Red Cross for several years.  She currently volunteers for the West Seattle Senior Center as a thrift shop cashier and in their computer lab, teaching computer skills to other seniors. Yoder plans to train Danny to be a therapy dog and continue giving back to the community.

“This lovely dog has brought unconditional love and companionship into my life,” said Yoder. “In just over two weeks, he has changed my life.  Thank you, thank you, Twilight Wish!”