Dear Visitor!

Dear Visitor,

{{2/6/09 – You can skip this post! The response of the readers of this blog and of my dear friends from many parts of my life – especially my Church – have fulfilled the need! Emmy is “mine” as of the end of next week! And I can’t express my gratitude enough. Thanks doesn’t begin to say it! May God bless each and every one of you!}}

I’m Elizabeth Riggs, and I am working with my wonderful service dog named Emmy who was placed with me by PAALS – Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services! (More on PAALS below.) Because of my physical disabilities (Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia), I was unable even to walk down to the bottom of our driveway to get the mail from the mailbox. But with the assistance of Emmy, I am now doing that and more!

I’m an active person – in my head – though I’m able to do less and less on the outside. Both RA and Fibromyalgia are progressive. These have cut my career short so I now must work from home, but my income is quite limited. My mobility is restricted by joint and muscle pain and stiffness. It is difficult for me to bend over and pick things up – like my cane, which is essential to my walking, and which I drop all too frequently. I have difficulty using reacher devices to pick up objects because my hands hurt and my joints are stiff. And the fatigue which accompanies both of these diseases has left me with a very short (3-5 hours) “window of opportunity” each day.

Emmy is of such help to me .She helps me get out of bed, helps me balance as I walk down the hall; tugs the clothes basket to the laundry room and helps remove clothes from the  dryer; She picks things my cane up from the floor many times during the day – as well as other things (my cellphone, my keys) – and gets someone for me if I fall. She is training to press the 911 button on a special phone, if need be.

I’m now able to be more mobile through having to walk Emmy and throw balls and frisbees for her for exercise. There are many things involved with having a dog that are helping me as though it were physical therapy or occupational therapy. No matter how badly I feel, I need to take care of my Emmy! And this is helping to make me feel better in the long run.

Your contribution will help me keep Emmy! Unless I manage to get the full $7000 together by the end of February, Emmy will have to be placed with someone else!

Please seriously consider a donation in my name to PAALS.

The limitation in my “window of opportunity” each day limits my ability to fund raise, so I’m asking for your help to raise the $7,000.00. Thank you for any and all assistance!

Service dogs (guide dogs for the blind, hearing alert dogs and mobility assistance dogs) help keep disabled people active, and many disabled people are able to take care of themselved and to continue working – because of the help given by these dogs.

Most disabled people would prefer to be a contributing member of society rather than dependent upon others – or the government. Certainly I am one of those! Many disabled people would benefit from a service dog. But according to Assistance Dogs International (ADI), “the current availability of trained Service Dogs is approximately 500 to 600 Service Dogs per year. The average waiting list is 2 years (ranging from 6mos. to 5 years). That means that the current demand is approximately 1000 to 1200 dogs.”

I am one of the “Fortunate 500” – I received Emmy after less than one year waiting. PAALS, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was able to place Emmy with me because of the small but dedicated group of core volunteers, community volunteer participants, the vision of the founder, and the guidance of their board members. As their website states: “PAALS‘ overall goal is to train assistance animals to help individuals with disabilities other than blindness or deafness. These animals can help with a vast array of tasks to assist with physical disabilities, and social needs as assigned assistance animals, or using them through quality programs to groups or organizations that can benefit from our assistance animals.”

Please seriously consider a donation in my name to PAALS.

PAALS doesn’t just train the dogs for 6 months, as some other organizations do, their dogs are trained every single day from the time they are eight weeks old through eighteen months, in the basics of obedience and good house manners. At the end of this time, they are tested for the “Canine Good Citizen Certification” through the AKC. After this, at eighteen months, they begin a six-month-long intensive training program that includes the special behaviors needed for the specific recipient and a repertoire of other behaviors that can include such diverse activities as turning light switches on and off at the wall, pressing a handicap door activation plate, or leaning against an autistic child to keep him grounded and calm.

When I received Emmy, I incurred a $7000.00 obligation to PAALS . This is only approximately 1/3 of the actual cost for Emmy’s training. More puppies are being trained even as I write this, and I need to get my obligation taken care of by the end of January 2009.

Please seriously consider a donation in my name to PAALS.

In this season of goodwill, and as the tax year winds down, I am asking you to contribute to PAALS in my name. If you go to the PAALS website’s “Support” page ( and scroll down a bit, you will find my picture and a link for contributions. PAALS accepts credit cards through PayPal, as well as direct pay through PayPal.

Please seriously consider a donation in my name to PAALS.

All individuals who contribute to PAALS in my name will receive an exclusive purple wrist band stating “I’m a Pal of PAALS” on it.

$50 – $149  – Aquamarine Level

the wrist band
a copy of my dessert ecookbook “Sweets for the Sweet!”

$150 – $299 – Turquoise Level

the wrist band
a copy of my complete holiday ecookbook “The Groaning Board” – a collection of Holiday recipes from my childhood in Atlanta (includes the recipes from “Sweets for the Sweet!”)

$300 – $999 – Amethyst Level

the wrist band
my complete holiday ecookbook,
a mini album of photos of Emmy

$1000 – $2499 – Emerald Level

the wrist band
my complete holiday ecookbook,
a mini album of photos of Emmy
mention on my ThankYou Web Page for 6 months

$2500 – $4999 – Ruby Level

the wrist band
my complete holiday ecookbook,
a mini album of photos of Emmy
mention on my ThankYou Web Page Page for 9 months

$5000 and up – Diamond Level

the wrist band
my complete holiday ecookbook,
a mini album of photos of Emmy
mention on my ThankYou Web Page for 12 months

Similarly, a corporation’s contribution can accomplish a number of purposes. You can support puppies, you can support the training, you can support the clients. There are a number of Corporate Sponsorship opportunities available that are very attractive:  They are described in detail in the Corporate Sponsorship package, available from PAALS. If your business would be interested in contributing, please contact PAALS for a copy of the Corporate Sponsorship package.

Please seriously consider a donation in my name to PAALS.

Emmy and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts! May God bless you!

Elizabeth Riggs


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suzanne
    Dec 20, 2008 @ 08:24:27

    Done, Elizabeth. I wish I could be of real, significant help. Intensive prayers going up for you. {{{HUGS}}}


  2. turtlemom3
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 09:43:56

    Thank you, you precious person! You know how much I love you! Your wristband will be on its way tomorrow.

    You have NO idea how hard it has been to write and post this! I’d rather have just come up with the money myself, but at this time of my life and the economic problems, I just can’t and need a little help.


  3. Mimi
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 13:36:28

    I just donated under my husband’s name, so that is who that is. My best wishes for a wonderful Christmas, fearless leader!


  4. turtlemom3
    Dec 23, 2008 @ 08:14:57

    Thank you, Mimi! Every donation helps. Your wrist band (and other premiums) will be on its (their) way as soon as I get the accounting statement from PAALS.


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