Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Story about a Dog and a Boy-help me stop this from happening again!!!!

A friend of mine forwarded me this story. It really happened to a friend of hers!!

"To my family and friends please help me get the word out so this doesn't happen to some other child.

As you all may know(or not know) my 8 yr old grandson Cameron has autism. My daughter Amie purchased a service dog for Cam from the North Star Foundation in Ct. Patty Dodds the executive director isnot a person to be trusted.(As we find out later) Cam's dog was specially trained for him by Tim and Elise of K9 concepts in California. On Saturday Nov 14th they flew to Boston with Cam's dog. On Sunday morning the big day had finally arrived. Tim and Elise arrived at Amie's house with the dog that Cam had named Bo . It felt like Christmas in November. I don't think Bo was here fifteen minutes and he and Cam where on Cam's bed like old friends. After a quick bite to eat everyone went outside. Watching them give Bo commands in a soft voice and the immediate response from the dog was amazing. It had turned out so much better then I every could have hoped for. I said to Marty I guess now we know why it cost thousands of dollars for a service dog. Around noon Tim and Elise left for Boston knowing that Cam and Bo were a good match and Bo was in a loving home. On Monday Patty was to arrive at 9am with a trainer to meet Amie, Tim and Elise. Tim and Elise would then go over all of the vital data for Bo and what he knows and how he has been trained to date. Now this is what was supposed to happen and if you read the NorthStar web site you would believe it does. In reality Patty showed up three hours late. Not only did she not have a trainer with her she had not in the past three months found the time to even contacted one. Next she drops the ultimate bomb that she is taking Bo because she has changed her mind and doesn't feels this is a good placement. THIS IS WHERE WE GET TAKEN BIG TIME. Up to this point she has only talked to Amie on the phone or via email. This is their first meeting in person. She never met nor did she care to meet Cam since he was in school. Tim and Elise told her they are the ones that have spent time with Amie's family and would not leave Bo if they didn't feel it was a good match. Tim even offered to sign a paper stating he would take full responsibility if anything went wrong. At this point Amie, Tim and Elise are standing in the driveway in a state of shock. Tim told Patty he would give her back the $5,000.00 she paid him for the dog which would release her if there was ever a problem. Patty didn't care what they had to say. She said her word goes and she left with Bo. Tim and Elise had to leave to catch a plane back to California sick over what has happened to Cam's dog. A dog that has been a member of their house for 7 months is off to Ct. Worse yet she cares so little about the dog she never asked as to what food Bo eats, what shots he had,etc. She even had the nerve to say she has another family in Ct. waiting for a dog. That child's Autism isn't as severe as Cam's and would be a better home for Bo. Amie left her voice mail stating she wants the immediate return of the $7,000.00 paid to her for Cam's dog. Of that amount $5,700.00 is to be returned to the HalfWay Cafe which is the amount they raised from a fundraiser they held for Cam. The other $1,300.00 to Amie for the amount she had paid so far. In total the dog was to cost $10,000.00. The remaining $3,000.00 was to be paid over the following year for training.

PATTY'S RESPONSE READ YOUR CONTRACT YOU DON'T GET YOUR MONEY BACK.The contract reads if the placement is not working and the family is at fault not the dog she gets the dog back and keeps your money. What the contract didn't tell us is if she has another buyer for your dog she can say she doesn't like the placement keep your money and sell the dog a second time. I don't believe that is legal but according to her she has done nothing wrong. THE PAST FOUR DAYS I HAVE TRIED TO FIGURE OUT HOW PATTY'S MIND WORKS. I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION I CAN'T FIGURE HER OUT BECAUSE I HAVE MORALS AND COULD NEVER ACT LIKE SHE DOES. I do know Bo needs to go back to Tim and Elise so they can see what damage she has done to him. Amie and the HalfWay Cafe need to have their money returned. I need your help in getting the word out so no other family is financial and emotionally ripped off by Patty and the North Star Foundation. On a final note there was a response from two of the North Star Foundation Board Members. One was her husband and the other is someone that said she has been Patty's friend for thirty years and they both think she is wonderful. Patty has a link on her site to a professor in California. Amie spoke to him and that was how we found out we are not the first ones to be ripped off by Patty. He gave Patty three trained service dogs free of charge for families who couldn't afford them. Later he found out she sold them to families for thousands of dollars."

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I hope you will help us for Cam's sake and all the those out there like Cam that cannot defend themselves against the Patty's of the world. Please get involved and pass it on to everyone you know. I can't change what has happened to Cameron but I can try it prevent if from happening to another child and their family.


Patty Dobbs Gross said...

My name is Patty Dobbs Gross, and the fact that this poster got my name wrong here is really just the first error in a posting brimming with inaccuracies and misinformation...

What happened in between the time this North Star dog, Bo, arrived in Cam's home and the day he was removed has to remain confidential, as unlike Cam's grandmother, I have confidentiality agreements at work.

However, I can say that this incident is the third time in a our decade of nonprofit work that a family we are serving has taken issue with a decision I have made that they regard as overcautious. In my role as Executive Director of North Star, I tried several times in the ten days that followed Cam's North Star dog's removal from this home (although no one ever had any issues with Bo in terms of the dog's behavior) to continue to work through the issues and create a North Star placement for Cam that I considered safe, but Amie McNamara refused to work with me due to disagreeing with the unpopular decision to remove the dog from the home. It should be noted that among the compromises I offered Amie, one included an option to continue to work with North Star's Bo, and that Amie rejected any an all offers that were sent to her to continue to work together to train Bo to serve as Cam's North Star dog under conditions that I felt were safe.

It should also be noted that although no refund of the donation the McNamara's made to us was due back to them legally, as they signed a contract precluding this, North Star's board of directors recently met and decided to return their donation, minus specific expenses occurred and legal fees we have had to accrue based on Amie's repeated threats to take us to court.

This isn't easy work to do, and the fact that in our ten years of incorporation we have not had one claim filed on our two insurance policies for any bite delivered by a North Star dog is an enviable record, and that this record, while creating 100 autism assistance dog placements in this decade of service, in my mind justifies our admittedly cautious policies of creating these partnerships between children with autism and assistance dogs carefully...

There are many other inaccuracies in this post, including the fact that this dog was not "resold," that I never worked with any Professor in California that "gave" me three trained service dogs free of charge, and that I don't have anyone on by board that I've known 30 years, etc, etc...

Please visit our website at to learn the truth about our nonprofit work...

Kind regards,

Patty Dobbs Gross
Executive Director
North Star Foundation

camsnana said...

Patty you were not there when Bo arrived at Cam's house were you? You never saw Cam and Bo together did you? As a matter of fact you never even met Cam did you? You didn't arrive until the next day then took Bo while Cam was in school didn't you? The trainer's approved the placement didn't they? The trainer's you hired to train Bo for Cam pleaded with you to leave the dog including to purchase the dog back from you didn't they? They told you it was a good home for Bo with Cam didn't they? Tim, Elise and Amie were all willing to agree in writing to release you and Northstar from all responsibility didn't they? Your posting claims you tried to work through the issues to create a North Star placement for Cam that you considered safe. The ISSUE is you took Bo without justification. Patty why would you trust the training of Bo to Tim and Elise but not trust them when they told you it was a good home for Bo? Isn't the price of the dogs you sell for $10,000.00 and up because of the cost of training? Why then trust the training to Tim and Elise and not trust their judgment in the placement?

Patty Dobbs Gross said...

The trainers were not qualified to make the important call of whether it was safe to put Bo into the home with Cam's behavioral issues as reported to me by Cam's own mother.

I am qualified to make this decision, and I made it; unfortunately it wasn't something that was respected, and now there are no winners to be found in this sad situation.

Patty Dobbs Gross
Executive Director
North Star Foundation