QuadraMed | Service Dogs of Virginia
March 1st, 2016

QuadraMed has partnered up with Service Dogs of Virginia for the 2016 Harris Community Challenge. Their contributions to SDV has helped to raise, train and pair service dogs with an owner in need.

"Dear Mr. Taraszkiewicz,

My name is Caroline and I was partnered with my service dog, Gonzo in 2013 during my senior year in high school. I asked Service Dogs of Virginia if I could thank some donors who made our amazing partnership possible, and they gave me your name ... so, THANK YOU!

Over the years we have created a bond that is irreplaceable, and I thought you might like to know how my life has changed since receiving Gonzo. I have physical limitations due to a genetic disorder and rely on a power wheelchair for mobility, and now I also can rely on Gonzo to help with certain physical tasks that are not possible on my own. He has definitely helped maintain some of my independence! With a "tug" command, Gonzo will open drawers for me that my family has tied a rope around the handle. He also is happy to pick up anything that I may drop on the floor and place it in my lap, within my reach.

People are more likely to approach and speak to me now that I have a beautiful dog by my side. It is amazing how intimidated some people are about approaching someone in a wheelchair! Gonzo's friendly disposition and physical help are evident, but what has probably meant the most to me is his emotional support. He is my ever-present companion. He senses my stress and sadness (especially at doctor visits), and is able to redirect my attention and comfort me with a lick or a wiggle.

Knowing Gonzo is always here for me has been a huge support these past three years... and it is because of the generosity of people like you that my life situation has improved. My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

With much gratitude, Caroline Pennell"