In case you haven’t yet encountered news of Zion Harvey, read his inspiring story on People online. This little boy’s message, “before you quit, try everything,” is an important reminder of the value of hope in troubled times.
In our work with Trouble the Dog, he is used as a coping mechanism — a best friend who is always there with a soft ear into which children can safely whisper their troubles and concerns.
In a recent Newsweek article, Britain’s Prince Harry speaks about the impact that the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, had on him.
Asked by ex-England footballer Rio Ferdinand about the possible impact of his own wife’s 2015 death on his children, the royal replied, “I really regret not ever talking about it [Diana’s death].”
Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, when Harry was 12, but the prince said he was silent on the subject of losing his mother “for the first 28 years of [his] life.”
Hosting an event for mental health charity Heads Together, which he formed with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the prince told BBC Breakfast, “It is OK to suffer, but as long as you talk about it. It is not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognizing it and not solving that problem.”
Prince Harry is hoping to open lines of communication… as we are with Trouble the Dog. It’s so very important.
The story that went viral this week about the three-year-old daughter of Michigan mom Stacy Feeley practicing a lockdown drill by standing on a toilet drives home just how stressed children are today. Burdened with fears that should never have to enter their minds, children need a coping mechanism like Trouble the Dog to help them work through their emotions. Our classroom visits allow us to see that kids today have so much to say. Sometimes they simply need a non-judgmental confidante to “hear” them.
May is National Foster Care Month and the statistics are staggering. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, on September 30, 2014, there were an estimated 415,129 children in foster care. It’s probably safe to assume these numbers have continued to grow over the past two years.
We can all do our part to help vulnerable children going through such difficult times. For our part, we have launched an initiative that will allow us, with corporate and community assistance, to put Trouble the Dog into the arms of as many of foster children as we possibly can. Trouble is a proven coping mechanism who is “on call” 24/7 whenever a child needs the reassurance that a huggable friend can offer.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with a foster mother who says that she can still hear the sobs of a very young child she was fostering. She is enthusiastic about our initiative and said she would have given anything to have been able to put Trouble into the arms of the heartbroken child and let him know that Trouble was his to confide in and keep for his very own.
Trouble the Dog® partnered with IDEXX Laboratories, a leader in pet healthcare innovation, to build a dynamic corporate team building program for sales reps with an important community service component. IDEXX dedicated a donation to help children attending Camp Phoenix, an innovative camp offering programs for pediatric burn survivors.
Sales reps from each region gathered in Nashville, TN to hear about Trouble the Dog’s mission of hope for kids. Employees decorated Trouble doghouses with messages of love and hope which were packaged with Trouble the Dog plush toys and storybooks and delivered to children attending Camp Phoenix. Camp Phoenix is a medical student-run community program for kids who have suffered burns. The camp allows kids and their siblings to increase their confidence and form friendships with other burn victims.
During the team-building week in Nashville, IDEXX also donated 200 Trouble the Dog plush comfort toys, story books and doghouses to children and families receiving services at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
This is one example of the team-building programs we offer for corporations and large groups designed to strengthen team camaraderie and boost team spirit. Topping the experience off with an engaging community service component like the one chosen by IDEXX always adds meaning and value for our clients.
For more information about building a program that fits your company’s needs, please call 781-631-0887 or get in touch via email.
No fewer than three articles in today’s Boston Herald illustrate the severity of the opioid crisis in our communities. The first is about a Westfield mother whose unconscious one-year- old son was brought back to life with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan. The child was rushed to the ER – a result of his mother’s drug addiction and having heroin in the home. The second article is a heartbreaking piece about the same mother and son and how children deserve so much better than this.
The third article shares staggering statistics of substance-exposed newborns – a crisis that the March of Dimes is trying to help rectify. All three stories addressed the alarming opioid abuse in our communities and how it is affecting not only adults, but children as well. The crisis is so bad that the March of Dimes is appealing to the Department of Children and Families to reduce their caseloads in order to prioritize and treat babies addicted to opiates. Kids are being removed from their homes at alarming rates, often with only the clothes on their backs. All of their toys and belongings, if they are allowed to take anything with them, are thrown in trash bags.
In one article, Department of Public Health spokesman Scott Zoback said “between March 2014 and August 2015, the state received a total of 3,452 reports of substance-exposed newborns.” Reporter Jessica Heslam noted, “Babies should be safe and snug in their mothers’ arms or cribs or baby seats — not crawling around hundreds of empty heroin bags on the filthy floor of their homes.” She goes on to say that, “Addiction is a horrible affliction, and I’m sympathetic, but that baby boy deserves so much better. All children do.”
What a crushingly sad state of affairs for so many of the youngest members of our society.
Trouble the Dog was “born” nine years ago in response to a tragic sequence of events in the life of one young child. In plush form, Trouble has helped provide comfort to thousands of children in crisis since that time. While he is not the solution to the opioid epidemic, he offers the tactile comfort young children crave during times of crisis.
We are working with various agencies to establish a distribution network for plush Trouble dogs to make sure they get into the arms of children when they need him most. Stay tuned for more information on this new initiative.
In the meantime, you can shop for Trouble and make a difference for a child in your life.