In the last 15 years, we have added so many families to our W.A.G.S. 4 Kids family tree. Since 2004, we have placed 92 service dogs in support of 103 kids in need. That means we have also impacted 185 parents, 370 grandparents, countless siblings, other relatives, therapists, and teachers … all of whom we consider part of the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids family.
It is normal at Thanksgiving to look back and recount all the things we are thankful for – from family and friends to all the little things that make the biggest impact in our lives. Through the years, we’ve urged others to practice kindness and “inclusion always, in all ways,” whatever that means to you. Whether that means volunteering at The Mac ‘n’ Cheese Throwdown or serving meals on Turkey Day, donating, or saying hi/sitting next to the kid who usually sits alone at lunch. What we are most grateful for at W.A.G.S. 4 Kids is not only the road that brought us here, but that we get to spend this holiday with all of you…our families, kids, sponsors, donors, and supporters. You have been demonstrating kindness and inclusion all along by accepting us and including us in your lives, too.
You have opened your homes and your hearts to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, and we wouldn’t be the organization we are today without each person we have crossed paths with along the way. W.A.G.S. 4 Kids has continued to grow and branch out because of the person who tossed a few dollars into our donation box after hearing about our cause; because of the group of friends that bought tickets to have fun at an event; because of the volunteer that was looking to give their time; because of the family whose lives have been so impacted after receiving a service dog they jumped in to spread the word about us in any way they can; because of the businesses that recognized our needs and helped support our programs and children; because of the workplaces and schools that chose us for their casual dress days; because of an infinite amount of other people and things that would be a list longer than the Ohio River … all of these things – big and small – mean more than you could ever imagine to an organization like ours.
It is because of this ongoing support that in the last 12 months we hit a milestone with a record number 10 of service dog placements. This achievement is celebrated by our staff, our trainers, our volunteers, our community partners, and our families past and present. The children and families that have already received a service dog have seen and felt the magic. The 44 families that are already waiting, the 150+ that apply annually, and those who don’t yet know we are here for them have hope that this magic can happen in their lives, too. Along with us, they are thankful, grateful, and appreciative of the support you give to W.A.G.S. 4 Kids.
For 2020 and beyond, our enduring goal remains to place more service dogs with the local children who need them. We strive to continue “Growing Possibilities, One Child at a Time” and create more Thankful Thanksgivings for the children and families waiting for their service dogs. Your help and support means W.A.G.S. 4 Kids can branch out to other areas of the state, adding more families to our W.A.G.S. 4 Kids family tree.
Our thanks and gratitude is rooted more deeply than ever this year.
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!