Class of 2019
Marvin & Freedom
Marvin Heater of Colville, WA was partnered with Freedom, a black Labrador with a patient and loving demeanor. Marvin broke his neck in a diving accident in 1997, leaving him a quadriplegic who uses a wheelchair. Today, Marvin stays active working as a bookkeeper for a company that services and manages cutting tools for sawmills and enjoys camping, hunting, and fishing in his free time. The many ways in which Freedom will assist Marvin will prove more life-changing than we can now predict.
Lacey & Charlie
Lacey Woods of Stanwood was partnered with Charlie, a black Labrador, in May 2019. Lacey lives with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2I and Relapsing Polychondritis. Her first Summit dog, Golden Retriever Isabelle, with whom she was paired in 2013, died earlier in 2019 after developing a fast-growing cancer. Lacey said getting Charlie so soon after Isabelle died was a miracle, because she had grown to rely on Isabelle for daily support. Charlie is focused, very well trained and highly intelligent. He provides Lacey with daily assistance to compliment her busy lifestyle, which includes managing a large household that includes foster children that she and her husband regularly welcome into their caring family.
Class of 2017
Brianna & Mabel
Brianna Vail of Woodinville has lung disease that impairs her breathing and limits her mobility, so she uses a wheelchair. Her vision and hearing are also affected, and she’s prone to falling. Mabel will help her get around safely, open doors, pick up dropped items, fetch an emergency phone and give her unconditional love. Brianna is now a student at the University of Washington Bothell Campus, where Mabel is always by her side.
Kori & Scout
Kori Gibson of Auburn has arthritis and fibromyalgia, which give her pain and balance issues. Scout will help her by retrieving dropped items, fetching the phone and helping with laundry. Scout also goes with her to appointments and to her part-time job at Home Depot, where he is a star.
Class of 2016
James & Cooper
James Abernathy lived in Olympia when he was partnered with Cooper in 2016. He was an attorney for a non-profit organization there but moved back to his native Ohio shortly after graduation. However he continues his work remotely with the Olympia non-profit and is now married. James had been an active athlete until he sustained a spinal cord injury during his sophomore year in high school. Since then, he has used a wheelchair to get around and now has Cooper as his wonderful companion and helper.
Class of 2015
Melissa & Tanner
Melissa Mitchell, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was paired with Golden Retriever Tanner, who will help her by opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, retrieving dropped items and many other tasks. Melissa recently moved to Oak Harbor from Oregon to join Summit’s staff as a service-dog trainer. That makes Tanner sort of an “adjunct” staff member, since he is always with her and can help other potential service dogs learn by example. Tanner is Melissa’s second Summit dog. In 2007, she was matched with Shiloh, who is now retired.
Amy & Shane
Amy was paired with Golden Retriever Shane, a therapy dog who will work with Amy in her marriage and family counseling practice. Amy says she often works with children for whom the comfort of a therapy dog can help set them at ease so they can open up and express themselves.