2009 Graduation Honors Four More Matches, Happy New Year!

Empowering people with disabilities to greater heights
Happy New Year! January 2010
2009 Graduation Honors Four More Matches,
Bringing Us To 46 Graduate Pairs
There were smiles, cheers and happy tears as we honored the four most recent
additions to our Summit family of graduate pairs – Taysen Langstraat of Lynden with
Jackson, GJ Leptien of Portland with Zoey, Lynne Kovacich of Spokane Valley with
Adams and Eric Rea of Seattle with Titus. These four bring our nine-year total to 46 lives
changed for the better through the help and companionship of an assistance dog.
We also honored the puppy raisers and trainers who prepared these four wonderful
dogs for their new lives. Jackson’s puppy raiser was Christy Durham of Sedro Woolley,
and staff trainer Wendy McDougal did his advanced training. Zoey’s puppy raiser was
Diana Smith of Anacortes, who also was his volunteer advanced trainer. Adams was
raised and put through advanced training by volunteer Jan Hemme of Anacortes.
Summit staff trainer Lisa Freshour started out raising Titus when she was a volunteer
and became his advanced trainer when she joined our staff last year,
Eric Rea, speaking on behalf of this year’s graduating class, talked about how
dramatically his life has changed since he was paired with Titus last spring. He
reiterated what we hear from our graduates over and over again. In addition to the
helpful tasks they perform, these dogs help build bridges and new friendships, create
independence and hope-filled lives, reduce depression and loneliness, and of course,
give unconditional love.
Taysen, Mom Melodie & Jackson
GJ Leptien & Syndi
It takes a lot to make these miracles happen. To produce 46 great service dogs, we
have rescued more than 200 dogs and raised more than 150 puppies. Hundreds of
volunteers have given countless hours to raise, train and socialize puppies, help us
around our office and volunteer for events. More than 3,200 generous donors have
supported us financially through the years. Without them, we would not have been
able to change these 46 lives.
We also extend a special thanks to the sponsors who helped make our 2009
graduation ceremony a wonderful event. Christine Coco, photography; Nancy Nielsen,
handmade personalized quilts for the graduates; Jan Hemme and Barb Clark, the 2009
slide show; David Lorenz & Team at Starbucks Redmond Center Store 349, coffee;
Elaine Montgomery, cakes.
Eric Rea & Titus
Many volunteers also helped us with set up, clean up and other event tasks. They are
acknowledged in “Volunteer Central” on the last page.
Lynne Kovacich & Adams
Mailing: P. O. Box 699, Anacortes, WA 98221 • Facility: 12549 Christianson Road, Anacortes, WA 98221
Phone: (360) 293-5609 • E-mail: [email protected] • Web: www.summitdogs.org
Page Two: Puppies in the Pipeline
Page Three: Retired Dog, Thanks, Invitation
Page Four: Volunteer Central
Empowering people with disabilities to greater heights
Many Puppies in the Pipeline
Wonderful volunteers are raising the next generations of service dogs for us. We’re always hopeful when these little bundles of
fur come into our program, but the reality is, not all of them will make the grade as service dogs. That’s why it takes many puppies
and puppy raisers to produce a handful of good service dogs.
“Just as not every athlete makes it to the Olympics, not all dogs have that extra something that makes them great service dogs,”
says Sue Meinzinger, Summit’s Founder/Executive Director.
Our puppy raisers are extra special people who take our pups from housebreaking through basic obedience until they are old
enough to come back to us for advanced training at about 18 months. They all say it’s hard to give up their puppies after the time
and love they have invested in them, but they also say they are motivated by knowing that the puppies they have raised may be
the next to give one of our waiting applicants the gift of independence.
We are always looking for more puppy raisers, as well as foster homes where we can place shelter rescues and re-homed dogs we
have brought into the program for evaluation. If you are interested, please call Wendy McDougal at (360) 293-5609 or send her an
e-mail at [email protected]
Current puppy raisers and their young charges are:
Nina Mann, Stanwood/Jaya
Christy Lyon, Sedro Woolley/Dawson (fourth Summit pup)
Christy Durham, Sedro Woolley/Dixie (eighth Summit pup)
Scottie Kuper, Issaquah/Denali & Shaymus (fourth and fifth Summit pups)
Andrea Baer, Snohomish/Phoenix (fourth Summit pup)
Diana Smith, Anacortes/Whistler & Rousseau (ninth and tenth Summit pups)
Kim Deans, Anacortes/Tucker
Bethany Rentz, Clyde Hill/Sherpa
Bethany Rentz & Sherpa
Deborah Darsie, Kent/Everest (second Summit pup)
Caryl Greenwood, Mount Vernon/Elias (second Summit pup)
Lori Sprague, Everson/Wagner (third Summit pup)
Adinah Wyle, Bellevue/Wesley (second Summit pup)
Emily Smith, East Sound/Fisher
Donna Vaquer, Port Orchard/Finnegan (fifth Summit pup)
Andrea Crispin, Seabeck/ Freedom (fourth Summit pup)
Jan Hemme, Anacortes/Freddy (third Summit pup)
Dick From, Poulsbo/Fiji
Deb Robinson, Bellevue/Ferris (second Summit pup)
“It is very hard, and it doesn’t get any easier
after the first one. You can’t help but love them
as if they were your life companions from the
start. My 4-month-old puppy greets each day
with joyful abandon, and I try to resist the
vision of him one day walking away from me.
Yet I feel blessed to know that I will be giving a
gift to someone who needs him and will cherish
him in a way I can never imagine.”
Multiple puppy raiser Scottie Kuper
In addition, staff trainer Wendy McDougal is currently raising Frailey and Feather until we find more puppy raisers.
The oldest of the puppies – Dawson, Denali and Dixie, who are 14-1/2 months old – will be the next ones
to come back for evaluation and advanced training.
Dogs currently in advanced training are Cadet, Cloud, Crocker and Flicker. Marley and Cooper, both
shelter rescues, are being evaluated to determine whether or not they will go into advanced training.
So that’s our line up going into the new year. Stay tuned for updates in future issues.
Empowering people with disabilities to greater heights
Retired Service Dog Becomes “Mountain Dog Gusto”
Gusto, a handsome Golden Retriever, was paired with Marie Blythe of
Vaughn, WA in 2005. Sadly, Marie died in 2007, and Gusto came back to
Summit for re-evaluation as a possible service dog for another applicant. Ultimately, our trainers decided that it would be better for Gusto
to be retired as a service dog, and Suzanne Hartman of Seattle cheerfully adopted him in early 2008.
Suzanne is an avid hiker and snowshoer who said Gusto was initially a
bit of a “wimp” on the trails, but it didn’t take him long to adapt to his
new lifestyle. Suzanne recently sent us this photo and reported that
Gusto has turned into a real mountain dog.
“He runs up and down these steep rocks, is out ahead of everyone
and has become quite buff,” she wrote. “He is having a great time, and
everyone who meets him on the trail thinks he’s a puppy. So does he!”
Suzanne says he’s “6-1/2 years old, going on two!”
Gusto and Suzanne are featured on the February page of the Northwest
Hikers 2010 Calendar, so Suzanne says he’s also a “pin-up boy.”
Next Open House is February 3
Brochure Display Thanks
You are invited to visit our training facility at 12549 Christianson Road in Anacortes on Wednesday, Feb. 3 any time
between 4 and 6 p.m. to learn about our organization,
meet our puppies and see service dog training demonstrations.
Summit would like to thank the following businesses
who have joined the ranks of those who are displayng
our brochures and helping to spread the word about
We plan to hold open houses the first Wednesday of every
month from 4 - 6 p.m., so if you can’t join us in February, we
hope to see you at a future one.
Island Hospital Physical Therapy
Anacortes Senior Center
Watermark Book Store
Dr. Karen Bolton’s Office
Island Hospital Community Resource Center
DECA Raises Money for Summit
Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center
When the Burlington-Edison High School DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) students were looking
for a community service project last fall, they decided that
they wanted to raise money for Summit by putting on an
Rouge Beauty Salon
They solicited donations of auction items from area businesses, got desserts donated, and packaged auction items
for bidding. The Dec. 5 dessert buffet and auction raised
more than $750 for us. The event also gave us an opportunity to present a service dog demonstration and play our
video for a new audience.
Hats off to these ambitious students. Senior Micah Evans
and Junior Melody Van Pelt were the overall coordinators
with support from their fellow club members and their
faculty adviser George Way.
LaConner Styling Salon
LaConner Medical Center
Empowering people with disabilities to greater heights
We Rely On Our
It is only through the generous
support of our donors that we are
able to continue to do our important
work of changing lives four paws at
a time. To make a donation, you may
send a check to our mailing address
at P. O. Box 699, Anacortes, WA 98221
or on-line at our website
Summit also welcomes stocks, bonds
and mutual funds, as well as vehicle
donations. You might consider
naming Summit in your will. Your
bequest can make a difference in
the lives of others for years to come.
Please contact us for details.
You can also assist Summit by using
Goodsearch.com and/or iGive.com
while doing any on-line shopping.
Volunteer Central
Thank you to the following volunteers for their assistance during
the months of November and December.
For assisting trainers in November
Noel Blair, Nina Mann, Sarah Engelbert, Nancy Ptacek
For helping with graduation invitations
Martha & Bob Hall, Carleen Schmelke, Nina Mann, Lee Barnett,
Kathy Fournier, Barb Clark, Carol Herbert
For assisting at graduation
Sheila Fowler, Megan Fowler, Dyan Edison, Reeve Fritchman,
Nina Mann, Kelly Straight, Donna Sellers, Jenna Clark & Crystal
Bev Bakeman & Pimba, Amy Tierra, Daniela Tierra
Serena Tierra, Barbara Karsch, Andrea Crispin
For decorating our office for the holidays
Barb Clark, Lara Mirkovich
For making phone calls
Abby Sale, Jan Gruber, Deborah Robinson
Judy Goddard, Therese Michel
Dakota Needs a Home
Career change dog Dakota is a real
sweetheart for whom we would like
to find a loving home. If this cute
face piques your interest, please call
Sue Meinzinger at (360) 293-5609 or
e-mail her at [email protected]
For cleaning the office for our training seminar
Wendy Ingels, Emily Smith
For gift wrapping to raise money for Summit
Lydia Oakes
For assisting Lydia with gift wrapping
Sue Levin, Carleen Schmelke, Pat Essig
Angela Celebrezze, Jan Hemme with Summit pup Freddy
For distributing brochures
Joan Schaeffer
For representing Summit in the Anacortes Santa Parade
Bob Linder, Malea Linder,
Kim Deans with Summit pup Tucker,
Wendy Ingels with Summit career change dog Theo