This blog post is part of a series called Letters to Hartley, the idea that started this blog. See more letters here!
March 5, 2019
I haven’t written to you in a long time buddy! I figured it was about time I sit down and give you and everyone who’s following along a solid update on my life and our fundraising efforts.
First, I moved to Denton, Texas in early January 2019 so that I could return to the University of North Texas and pursue my bachelors degree in social work. The first three weeks here were extremely difficult. I vastly underestimated how challenging this move was going to be for me mentally and emotionally. I wish I would’ve had you, Hartley, to comfort me and force me to participate in life during those difficult weeks. You would’ve gotten me out of my apartment and helped me meet people beyond my new roommates those first few weeks.
Unfortunately, while my depression has gotten better the longer I’ve been in Denton, my anxiety continues to prove to be a huge struggle. I’ve had several panic attacks in class that have continued for hours after class ends. Hartley, if you were here, you would’ve been able to perform your Deep Pressure Therapy task during my panic attacks, helping to interrupt them and calm me down. You also would have been able to interrupt my panic attacks by licking my hands and my face as you will be trained to do in such situations. When I’m anxious at home, you would nudge and paw at my hands, encouraging me to engage with you instead of biting my nails until they bleed.
At this point in time, I can only imagine how much better my life will be when I have you to help with my mental health. I can picture you leading me out of crowded spaces when I get overwhelmed; and creating space for me when I cannot escape large groups. I picture myself remaining calm because of your presence and knowing that you are there to help me when I cannot help myself.
As an autistic person who has had trouble making friends since I moved, I see an added perk of having you with me being that people will want to talk to the girl with the dog. People might see me having a hard time, but they will also see you tasking. They will see firsthand how a Psychiatric and Autism Service Dog helps their handler. Maybe then, with you by my side, my episodes will become more manageable for me and something others can try to understand. This is the future I dream about that you, Hartley, will be able to provide for me. I can’t wait for that dream to come to life.
All my love,
As of Christmas 2018, we have raised $4,265 toward Hartley’s costs. That is about halfway toward our first goal of $7,000 and about a quarter of the way toward our second goal of $14,000. We still have a ways to go before I’m ready to contact Scout’s Legacy Service Dogs about finding Hartley. I don’t want to contact Scout’s Legacy until I have the initial $7,000 to pay for the full 2 years of training plus the puppy itself.
The Bonfire t-shirt fundraisers are still going on, so please feel free to continue to place orders for those! There are two different designs. Design number one says “When I Needed a Hand, I Found Your Paw” and can be found here. Design number two says “The Best Therapist Has Fur and Four Legs” and can be found here. Every dollar raised goes straight into Hartley’s bank account.
Thank you so much for everyone’s continued support. It means the world to me.