Fair Warning About Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions

UPDATE: Due to some confusion regarding the abilities of Hazel the dog, please see the update below for clarification.

My wife and I hired Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions (located in Yuba City area in northern California) in the hopes of getting an autism service dog for our daughter. If I could do it over, I would NEVER hire them and certainly do NOT recommend them to anyone looking for a service dog. If you are researching and considering hiring Pawsitive, please read on and consider this a warning.

After signing the contract and waiting an agonizing year, we were given Hazel, a beautiful chocolate lab to help keep our daughter safe and close to our home. For the most part, Hazel is a good service dog. (Update regarding Hazel’s abilities at the end of this post).  She has certain quirks and is still mastering certain techniques that we think should have been mastered before she came to our family, but with constant additional training we have been giving her, she is progressing well. The trainer who had Hazel last suspected that she was a bit young and still had a lot of energy and didn’t seem to have been socialized well. We were desperate to get Hazel into our family to help lower our stress levels and keep our daughter safe, so we agreed to take her just a tad earlier than what the trainer normally recommended. As such, she needs some additional socialization and a little extra work. We’ve come to accept this challenge and really do not have much issue here.

The service dog is not the problem with Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions.

The problem is the people who run and work for Pawsitive.

Always eager to serve!

Always eager to serve!

As a business owner, I understand the nature of working with clients, handling finances, and dealing with difficult circumstances. I also understand that the most important aspect of client-relations is communication….none of which Pawsitive seems to understand.

For a non-profit organization, I have never experienced such horrible client-relations as I have with Pawsitive. We paid a lot of money and many of our friends donated money on our behalf to an organization we had no previous relationship with (as would happen with a vast majority of their new clients). As a result, I kept good records of every communication we had with them to the detail of date and times we talked or texted and emailed. I could spell out each and every detail, but to prevent this post from being too long, I’ll only provide the main points.

I really tend to not speak negatively about other people or businesses online, but during the course of dealing with Pawsitive, I realized there were probably a lot more people like me in this position. The way the contract is written, they hold all the cards. It would be difficult to try and force their hand in any particular situation because then, all of a sudden, the dog may be “delayed more.” I’m not convinced this happened in our case, but the thought certainly crossed my mind. Given their inability to effectively communicate and tell the truth, I wouldn’t put it past them.

These are not in any particular order, but they’re all important.

Donor and Accounting Records

The biggest issue (and very important in my opinion), is that Pawsitive cannot provide you with any sort of legitimate status of your financial account. We paid money, friends and family donated money, and businesses donated money all on our behalf. “How much have we raised to date?” I would ask on several occasions. In the rare instance I got an email or phone call back, I merely got a total number. Although we were constantly promised that we would get a full accounting of who gave what on our behalf, we have NEVER received a full list. On two occasions, Patty (who handles development and finances) called and gave us a couple figures over the phone with names and promised to “send a written copy tomorrow when I get to the office.” The most recent response I got was an email with a few names attached to a few dollar amounts. The problem was that several dollar amounts had no names on them and several names were missing….namely my in-laws’ donation and the donation from MY OWN COMPANY.

Now here is the thing….Patty is a CPA during the day and works with Pawsitive in the off-hours. So a CPA is handling all the finances and donations and is completely unable to provide any sort of financial record to a client? Wow.

If any of my clients wish to have a record of their purchases/payments with my company, click, click, click, I email the information and we discuss any discrepancies. Apparently, for Pawsitive, this is incredibly difficult.

So here is the question regarding their financial dealings…. What are you hiding? Why can you not provide me with a detailed list of who gave what on my behalf and provide a total? Why do you not send out donation tax-receipts at the beginning of the year to anyone who donates to Pawsitive? I understand it is not a requirement by law, but a vast majority of non-profits do as a courtesy to their donors.

After numerous attempts at getting this information from Pawsitive, I must come to the conclusion that; 1) they simply do not care, and 2) they are incapable of handling their donors needs and finances well.

Little E and Hazel. So cute!

Little E and Hazel. Photo by Sweet Nectar Society. All rights reserved.

Immunizations

As would be standard and appropriate, service dogs should be immunized in the same way other dogs are. The problem here, is that Pawsitive cannot provide proof that Hazel has had them. During our handler training, the trainer gave us a single sheet that supposedly had a record of Hazel’s immunizations. After a closer look more recently, we discovered this was not actually a list of immunizations. After calling the veterinarian that was listed on the receipt, we did get confirmation that Hazel got a standard set of immunizations several months after being born. Specifically, the rabies shot that was given was set to last one year. Nothing since. Hazel is almost two now.

In an attempt to give Pawsitive the benefit of the doubt (I’m not sure why), we asked if they had a record of her immunizations…perhaps they used a different vet that we do not know of. We had to ask several times and, finally, we received a handwritten record of dates and immunizations that were supposedly given. However, there is no listing of rabies vaccination except for the one listed above.

So as far as we can tell, Pawsitive gave us a service dog that has not had its full standard set of rabies immunizations that are required by California law. This leads us to question the validity of the other immunizations as well.

This begs the question….what else did they not do for the dog that we are unaware of??

Communication

Have you noticed yet how awesome their communication is with clients? Yeah, awesomely horrible. When we were still researching and considering all our options for a service dog company, Carmel (the director) was very communicative and friendly and answered all of our questions. After we sent in the signed contract, we’ve only spoken with her a handful of times and most of our voice mails and emails got ignored.

Our contract stated that the placement of a dog would take 9-12 months. Ours took just under 12 months, so I really have no issue with the wait time. However, over the course of these 12 months, we were lied to as to the status of Hazel repeatedly. But this was only during the times we could actually get in contact with either Patty and or Carmel.

On several occasions, Patty told us that Hazel was just a few weeks away from being placed. These comments started around September of 2013 and continued for several months. Then…all communication stopped. In late January, I sent several emails to Patty with no response. I left a voice mail a few days later. No response. Several days later, I sent an email to Carmel in hopes she would follow up with Patty. To my surprise, she did and said Patty had never received a voice mail. Lucky for me…my iPhone says I called on Wednesday, February 5th at 7:41 pm and spoke for 1 minute. Like I said…I have detailed records.

Here’s the thing….my wife and I have been through two international adoptions. I understand waiting. I understand that sometimes things happen that create unintentional delays. I really do! But instead of lying in an attempt at keeping the client happy, just tell the truth and say you’re working on it. With both of our adoptions, certain circumstances beyond the control of our agency created unexpected delays that we didn’t like. But our agency was forthright and honest about what was going on. I think most people would appreciate knowing there is going to be a delay because of XYZ, rather than being told repeatedly that everything is okay and starting to notice on their own that things are really not okay.

It makes the client question whether the company is being honest in how it handles its business.

I have several other specific examples, but here is one more. At one point, we were told Hazel was being transferred to another trainer to “finalize her training.” After a bit of investigative digging, I came to find out this was not the case at all. Rather, Hazel had not even started advanced training and was now being moved in order to begin advanced training. This was after being told a few times Hazel was “almost ready for placement.”

On several occasions, we were told by Carmel that “I don’t have access to that information. I’ll have Patty send it to you”….which of course, never happened. As a business owner, I fully understand how delegation works. But when the same client keeps asking for the same information over and over and over again…something is clearly wrong with your system….or your people….or in this case, both.

Her standard position while waiting...so proper!

Her standard position while waiting…so proper!

Is Pawsitive a Well Run Non-Profit?

Not at all. If you put just these few examples together, this is what you get….

No standard report of the money you or your family/friends have donated on your behalf, substandard immunizations, constant inaccurate updates, and an extreme lack of communication.

We’ve tried to be patient. We really have. We’ve given Patty and Carmel (and other employees there) every opportunity to make these issues right, to respond with updates, to provide the simple information we request. But they simply are unable or unwilling to engage in any sort of quality client relations. We simply cannot allow such a horribly run organization to continue without feeling obligated to warn other potential clients.

Do all of their clients experience such lack of accountability and communication? I really have no idea. I hope not. I have been in communication with a couple other previous clients who experienced the same issues, so I do know it’s not just us.

But now that we have Hazel, all the cards are now in our hands and we feel obligated to warn others of their incompetence. We mean no ill-will toward anyone at Pawsitive. We’re not out to get Patty or Carmel or anyone else who works there. But we feel compelled to warn others of how they operate the company and deal with clients.

I cannot and will not recommend Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions to anyone. The dog is fine, the people there are not.

Perhaps when I have time, I can write in more detail about some of the other issues we had with Pawsitive…like how we were told we got to provide our own code word for Hazel, but then found out that wasn’t what the trainer was told to use….or the time we were told Hazel would be ready for placement “just after Thanksgiving”, but that was not the case. With our own digging, we found out that she had just barely been sent off to be spayed…pretty sure that’s not part of the placement, instead something that is done way ahead of placement.

We have lots of stories to share!

Have you experienced issues with Pawsitive? If so, please let me know and leave a comment.

UPDATE:

Here is some clarification on the abilities of Hazel. There seemed to be some misunderstandings about just how good Hazel is as a service dog and rather than rewriting my whole post, I’m just adding in this bit of information to clarify a few things.

We did NOT get what we paid for. At the total cost of over $14,000, Hazel did not show up for placement as a fully trained autism service dog. She pulled on the leash continually, only found my daughter during scent tracking 50% of the time, and failed to have any sense of understanding where my daughter was and whether she needed any sort of help at all. In addition, she had not even begun any sort of training to notify us if my daughter began climbing the fence. Hazel does not possess any sort of innate ability to care for my daughter or keep her safe.

So why did I post above that the dog is fine? Because WE made her that way!

My wife and I decided that WE would have to train her since Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions did not complete the job. Rather than continue to complain to Pawsitive and be frustrated with the fact they rarely return phone calls, emails and texts, we simply decided to take matters into our own hands. Clearly, we proved to be more competent than they were.

After spending hundreds of our own dollars on additional training, after spending countless hours of our own time completing (and in some cases BEGINNING) training for Hazel, she has started to act like a real service dog.

So is Hazel a decent service dog? She is certainly getting there.

Is it because Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions trained here well? Absolutely not.

Did we get what we paid for? Definitely not.

 

 

238 thoughts on “Fair Warning About Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions

  1. Your story sounds so familiar it could almost be our own. Please send me your email address and I will forward you a copy of the lawsuit that was recently filed against Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions. I’m so glad Hazel is working out for you.
    Best, J

    • Thank you for sharing this Nathan….it’s ALL WAAAAY TOO FAMILIAR! Our family has also been taken advantage of by Pawsitive. Our son’s SD was placed in April, and she stayed with us less than one month…Nana was so not trained and displaying such strange behaviors from the very beginning, that we sent her back to Pawsitive before Carmel could say “NO!” She just happened to be out of town and Patty was the one who confirmed that Nana would be picked up from the airport after we flew her back. It took Pawsitive over a week to respond, which was a rotten email from Carmel, followed up by a letter from her lawyer (only after we made numerous phone calls/emails/voice messages) stating that they REFUSE to return the funds raised for our son. I actually just received an email from Pawsitive’s lawyer this morning that I need to stop sharing our family’s story, or they will sue us….How does our family join this civil suit if we are in California? Please feel free to contact me or share our family’s story.
      All the best to you and your family!

      • Hi A,

        I am in contact with the people leading the lawsuit against Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions. I’ll give them your email and have them contact you.

        Nathan

        • Hi. Can you please email me the lawyer’s information. We paid a total amount of $15,500 and it seems that we are not receiving anything at all. Please responds asap. Thank you.

            • I’d be interested as well to be a part of this – we received a service dog from PSDS (probably one of their last) and have had the most same exact experience (unfinished training, no immunization records, horrible communication, problems with funding, etc).

              We would love to hear how this case is progressing and how we can help. Thanks!

  2. Nathan, have you gotten responses to your post? I am in contact with several people who have gotten dogs from Pawsitive, and perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but none of them have had a good experience. The one that I was helping to get a seizure-alert dog determined that PSDS wouldn’t be able to provide what her daughter needed, and managed to get her money transferred out of PSDS, and will be getting a dog from Remedy Retrievers instead.

    As bad as your experience was/is, you are “lucky” compared to many. A complaint was filed against PSDS last Thursday in Santa Clara Superior Court. Families with four of PSDS’ dogs are in that suit, and all with much worse experience than yours. In their cases, the dogs were a major problem, in addition to the people and practices of PSDS. There is proof that 6-8 month old puppies were purchased from a kennel, then “trained” by a trainer who had no experience training dogs, then placed with families. Two of the four families mentioned above got two of those dogs.

    It would be good to have an easy to find location where people could tell about their experiences with PSDS, both the good, and the not so good. It should be a moderated site where people would have to stick to the facts, no assuming motives, and no name-calling.

    Anyway, it seems that Hazel will become a good service dog for you and your daughter. Even with your bad experience, you will end up with what you needed. Many other families will not, so people should be cautioned about PSDS. I think the lawsuit will go a long way in raising a red flag.

    The best to you and your family.

    • Hi G,
      Thanks for your comments. I have gotten many views of my post about PSDS, but not many comments. However, I suspect that over time, I’ll see more show up. My purpose in posting this information was not to rake them over the coals (if I wanted to do that I would have provided much more detail and many more stories). Rather, I simply want to warn others who are in the midst of researching autism service dog companies.
      Thanks for the information and feel free to link my post to others.
      Nathan

    • I work for one of the breeders that provided dogs to Pawsitive. As a matter of fact, I believe Hazel is one of our dogs. Luckily for Nathan, our dogs are from very high quality service stock, so most of them go home at 8 weeks already possessing a lot of basic obedience skills. However, without proper training, any good quality dog can be a bad service dog.

      I had some communication with PSDS, and Patty herself said that they got a lot of bad quality dogs from other breeders but were stuck with them because they had already paid for the dogs before meeting them. Who does that? Who doesn’t research the dogs they are investing so much into, and who doesn’t have a contract with the breeder to cover themselves in case they come across these scenarios?! However, please note that this is hearsay. I can only truly attest for our personal interactions with Pawsitive in terms of our business, many of which turned sour.

      The real reason why I am commenting is to share the Facebook page I created a long time ago after seeing Pawsitive for what they truly were and having a bad falling out with them. After a lot of heated emails back and forth, I wanted to create a place to go for people to give their honest opinion. I hoped that what I had heard and seen were isolated instances; that doesn’t seem to be the case. I encourage everyone to visit the page and leave their HONEST opinions and experiences of Pawsitive. This isn’t a witch hunt, just a place for people to find each other and the truth. https://www.facebook.com/PawsitiveServiceDogSolutionsReviews

      • Hello ST,
        I’m intrigued by your comments. Are you able to tell me what company you work for? It’s always nice to be able to trace a family members history! I have her AKC papers, but am curious if you can provide me with a company name. I agree that a well bred dog can be trained into being a bad dog, as Hazel’s sibling, Java, can attest to (He is listed in the lawsuit as being unqualified as a service dog). Java was from the same litter as Hazel…at least that is our understanding.
        Perhaps PSDS did get a “bad set of dogs” from another company, but that doesn’t justify their actions at all. They either should have purchased other dogs afterwards as replacements, or simply worked harder to train the existing set. Instead, they pawned off sub-par quality service animals to unsuspecting clients.
        Thanks for the link…I’m amazed at just how many people have been showing up lately who all experienced similar issues.
        Nathan

        • Hi Nathan. I just got off the phone with my boss (I wanted to discuss everything with her before I went vigilante on this), and she is thrilled to know that I am taking action. I work for Sonic Pride Labradors.

          Java, doesn’t sound familiar. If you give me the name of the parents for Hazel, I can tell you with certainty if she is one of our dogs or not (the parents are listed at the top of page 1). Unfortunately, based on what I have heard, it wouldn’t surprise me if even our dogs were raised up to terrible service dogs (even though we provided Pawsitive with pups from great service lines and temperament tested each pups at the crucial testing age to ensure that we were providing pups with the right temperament). Also, on that note, I don’t think they temperament tested the dogs after they received them because when we informed Pawsitive that we temperament tested the dogs and they all passed with flying colors, they seemed as if they couldn’t care less.

          We placed pups from two litters with Pawsitive before realizing we didn’t agree with their practices. We were so excited to be part of (what seemed to be) such a great organization, that we were happy to place our pups with them. We did research Pawsitive before placing our pups, but they were so new at the time that there were very few reviews on them, and what little we found were all good reviews.

          Sonic Pride is happy to help in any way that we can. There is no excuse for the way Carmel conducted herself (and, as far as I know based on my intel, Carmel is the ring leader on this). We are stricken with grief to hear about so many families being hurt and conned. My boss, the owner of Sonic Pride, did not like Carmel from the moment she met her. I put things together a little more slowly as red flags popped up (like them not having a contract for us when they bought the pups from us).

          We are also in touch with one of the company’s former trainer’s who had many complaints about the company and was herself uncompensated for thousands of dollars. I will let her come forward when she is ready, but whatever I can do on my end, I am happy to do.

          Also, fair warning, I am going on vacation tomorrow and will have limited contact until early next week. I will do my best to check emails and keep up with this when I get a chance, but I don’t know if I’ll have internet access.

          Wishing you and everyone else affected by Pawsitive the best. I am honored to play any role in helping families who had the misfortune of dealing with Pawsitive.

          • PS – sorry for so many grammar and spelling errors. I was in such a rush to respond that I didn’t take the time to make sure everything made sense. I won’t be offended if you need me to clarify anything. Thank you.

  3. My story is pretty much the same as well. As soon as I sent in half the money I heard nothing from them. Took about a month before they got back to me telling me if they received the money or not. They also said after receiving half they would place a dog for us. My husband and I have been calling them over and over again as well as sending emails and text that go unanswered. At this point I want want my money back to find another company who knows how to deal with people. I really feel like they just stole my money.

    • Hi A,
      Unfortunately, your story is very similar to many people. All I can suggest is to keep attempting to contact them and keep pressing to get your money back. Their business practices are so bad that they are now facing a lawsuit that was filed in Santa Clara, CA, last Thursday by four other clients. I’m sorry I do not have any good news for you.
      Nathan

      • Antonia,
        Did you file a formal complaint with Attorney General? Keep calling PSDS and keep detailed records as if your life depends on it!
        I quickly learned to request PSDS email any/all correspondence to me. I have several huge files, likely killed a few trees but I also have every single misdeed detailed and in PSDS own hand.
        I’m so sorry for you…this is so shameful and sad. Prayers to you and your family.
        Alexa Fila

        • We have not filed a complaint or lawsuit. However, I am aware of others who have. It’s a sad state of affairs when not one, but multiple clients feel they have no other recourse but to file suit.
          Nathan

            • Hi A,
              Yes, I have seen the complaint and have a copy. Interesting read…but not very surprising considering we went through similar issues.
              Nate

              • Hi,
                So grateful I saw enough and soon enough to risk fighting for donations back vs accepting a dog.

                I had A clue but not to this extent of intentional misconduct.

                SO HAPPY HAZEL IS SAFE AND HAPPY WITH YOUR FAMILY!

                Amen and bless you!

        • Not yet. I just started looking online to see if it was just me or if they treat everyone this way. I never had to deal with anything like this before.

    • Antonia, PSDS cannot refund your money. It is against IRS regulations for any non-profit to refund donated money. However, it is legal for them to transfer your money directly to another 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, though, I don’t know that they are required to do so. If you decide that is what you want, you may be able to make them want to get rid of you.

      Another option is to contact the California State Attorney General’s office. That office is familiar with the PSDS situation, having gone through it from February into April, and perhaps beyond. If you get their backing, they can compel PSDS to transfer the money, as long as there is a 501(c)(3) organization willing and able to accept the money. If you run into difficulties finding a recipient non-profit, there are people who may be able to help you with that too.

      Best wishes to you and your family,
      Gene Simpson

      • Hi G,

        I appreciate your willingness to provide information for others and help. Your idea of dealing with the attorney general is a great suggestion. However, having a great deal of experience handling funds with non-profits, I believe your suggestion that it is against IRS regulations for a non-profit to give refunds is incorrect. A non-profit that does give a refund can create complexities for those who gave the donation in the first place (particularly if they wrote off the donation on a filed tax return), but it is not against any IRS regulation that I am aware of. In addition, there are other options regarding how they can “return” the money if they did not want to give it back directly to you. Non-profits are very similar to other businesses in many ways. They pay for services with for-profit businesses all the time. Along these lines, if they chose to “pay” another company (whether it be for-profit or non-profit) in order to remove themselves from a contractual obligation (that’s you), there are no legal issues for them. The real challenge you might have is….do the people you’re working with have any understanding as to how to appropriately operate a non-profit organization??
        Blessings,
        Nate

        • Nathan, you may be right, but Carmel would need convincing.
          ——————————
          Subject: Re: Question about Donating to a Specific Child’s Service Dog
          Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:06:08 -0700
          From: Pawsitive
          To: Gene Simpson
          CC: Patty Basile

          Hi Gene,
          Patty’s house burned and her husband was injured so I’m sorry your questions were unanswered.
          Donations to a 501c3 are not refundable but we have never had someone unable to raise the funds. When nearly all the funds are raised ( about 75%) then a dog is selected and placed into advanced training. That usually takes about 3 months for the advanced task training.
          Thank you,
          Carmel Mooney

          Sent from my iPhone
          ——————————

          • Hi G,
            Just consider the source. Do your own research on the subject…don’t take their word for it! For as much as people don’t like the IRS, they actually have a well laid out website that has tons of easy to understand information.
            Nate

          • You are not the only one out there as you will see when you read the law suit.

            Gene,
            Patty told me that her house flooded and so she had to live in a hotel. She never said anything about a fire and that her husband got hurt.

            • Bethany,
              Patty told me house caught fire (late 2013), husband was injured w/2nd degree burns on hands and face, living in a hotel. Obviously, I felt awful for her.

              In early 2014, Patty’s cousin died tragically. Patty gave brief details (cousin’s name, how she died) and again – I felt so awful for her.

              Within 30 days, Patty’s same cousin died a second time?! Same name, same details given previously – what?!

              A few more excuses I got…
              “Fire, flood, death of cousin (twice) no computer, wrong computer, not at the office, have to take grandson to school, can’t find iPad, can’t give out trainer info w/out consent, pretty sure, don’t quote me, not sure, wrong child, wrong dog, don’t have file can I call you back?”

              Good grief. Enough!

              • Patty told ME her house caught on fire and her husband was in the hospital! I also heard all of the above mentioned excuses, except for the cousin dying. I guess I had given up on calling PSDS that week, so I didn’t hear that one.

  4. Hi Nathan,
    Good grief! I am so sorry your family has had such a time of it with PSDS too. I am happy to hear Hazel is in a good home with you. Wish I felt the same about other “pawsitively pawsitive” dogs.
    Early on I was hopeful their constant refusal to return my calls/emails, refusal to provide ANY information re: status or training of our SD, ANY information about anything, were exaggerated or incorrect. In fact, I blamed myself for being too pushy, too detailed, too much the parent of a kiddo in desperate need of a SD to help me keep her safe.

    My unhappy journey with PSDS parallels yours step by step. Sadly, mine also includes fraud, corporate misconduct, breaches of contract and, when pressed for the truth, PSDS alleged extremely serious and intentionally false accusations against me (publicly) to smokescreen their behavior. These unconscionable acts by PSDS were common and escalating daily.

    I contracted with PSDS for a seizure alert/response SD for my daughter in late August 2013. We deposit payment in full (13k) on October 25, 2013. The chase was on the minute the money was received – no return calls, no info at all or, if given, nearly always in exact opposition to something I had been promised/informed previuosly.

    In short, I refused to accept a PSDS SD. The dog they tried to thrust upon me had no verifiable anything: no medical records, no training, no certification (Public Access and SD Skills Testing), no real advanced trainer or training for certain. I too was told “Ripley will be ready in 2 weeks” however, he’d not even begun scent training (the shirts were still in my car!)? Ready for what?!

    I began to fear the initial suspicions I had were the tip of an awful iceberg, I was right! Thank God I had the inspiration to get the Attorney General involved in February, 2014. After nearly a year of PSDS nonsense, we got the donations refunded, PSDS privately admitted (though I had a witness present), they could not perform their obligations even under their own horribly lopsided contract and OFFERED to refund our money. Actually getting the funds was a whole new adventure into shady business practices land.

    In the end, my daughter’s desperately needed SD will arrive (a year or 2 later than expected but I have faith), I learned a great deal, the hard tearful and stressful way. Most importantly, I have tons of hard facts, most in writing, of PSDS’ shameful, deceitful and reckless behavior regarding the safety of special kiddos. Placing immature, untrained and unruly dogs, purporting them to be “service dogs” with families already so incredibly overwhelmed is cruel to all involved.

    I feel so blessed that I was able to refuse placement of any dog from this agency. I will continue to share these facts with any parents I see with active fund raising campaigns naming PSDS the recipient agency.

    Trying to make the absolute best of an absolutely awful time, I am taking my “PSDS PTSD on the road in hope of helping others avoid the nightmare I endured, continue to endure through on-going defamation of me by this lovely organization. Please, if you are reading this, considering PSDS at all – RUN!
    Thank you for sharing your story Nathan. Feel free to contact me if you’d like the backstage version.

    Alexa Fila

    • Hello A,
      I’ve heard of your story…at least portions of it. Sad, very sad. I’m glad to hear you finally got all your money back!
      But the question stands, why can’t they provide any sort of financial accounting to their clients? There could only be two reasons…they are either incompetent, or they’re hiding something. Quite frankly, I’m just not sure which one!
      Thanks for your comments.
      Nathan

      • **Edited for brevity***

        Hi Nathan,
        Oh my, I just read your update re: Hazel. I applaud you and your wife for working so hard with and for Hazel rather than giving up on her. Lucky dog indeed.

        You heard of me and my story? Oh my! I get nauseous at the idea you must believe or things you have read about me. You and a few hundred others, ouch! So incredibly sad knowing people I’ve never even spoken to think I am mean spirited and evil. I’ve shared only absolute minimum of our story and only to get help for my Hailey to get the SD she so desperately needs.

        Flipping this coin to the bright side, I have met some amazing people through this experience, you being one of them. I want to thank you for helping me feel less alone and isolated. It matters a lot. It is very courageous of you to speak up to help others. Admirable, you and your wife have my respect and gratitude. Bless you and your family for a little extra light in the tunnel.
        Alexa

  5. I just took a look on there Facebook page. They are claiming that we are all
    lying and they want to know if their customers are being contacted by any of us. Just a heads up that their collecting info.

  6. My friend Alexa had problems with them. I wrote on their facebook profile asking questions, they first deleted them, later blocked me from their page. I also wrote e-mail, that they didn’t respond. If they have time to delete unwanted questions and block people (I know I’m not the only one) then they must have time to unswer all those questions. Children needs service dog, it’s not a pet, it’s their therapy, and there is lot of money involved, so there shouldn’t be not even a small doubt about their work. Instead of answering question and reassure people, they delete them and block from their page. It leaves me with conclusion that they aren’t fair. So sad.

  7. Pawsitive’s Serious Intentional Misconduct Exposed

    Case #114CV265886 Superior Court, Santa Clara County

    The full complaint may be viewable online, if not, it is on “Hero For Hailey” FB page for any interested. Oh dear, this is beyond shocking, even to me having gone rounds w Carmel/Patty personally and PSDS overall since 2013.

    So incredibly sad for all (humans and dogs) involved in this, even for Pawsitive – in an odd way. This is so much more than a bullied parent (me) going public w PSDS’ misconduct for help.

    If any parents seeking to obtain a service dog from this agency are reading this , please read the complaint now! I have posted it on my daughter’s SD FB site: “Hero For Hailey” it is open to all.

    Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive…

      • The only problem with 4 paws is their not in ny and I wouldn’t be able to go to them for training. Has anyone heard of service dogs for independence? I spoke with them last night and they sound really good. Also I gave over 6000 to pawsitive, now their responding to me and they have a service dog ready for placement and I can tell they haven’t trained this dog for my child since I haven’t paid in full and they also have three groups of dogs they say would be good for my child. I really need that money back or I can’t get a dog for my girl. Do I still have a case now that they are responding to me? Where do I go from here?

        • Antonia,
          I am so sorry Pawsitive is STILL defrauding desperate families. This is despicable, and exactly what they did to us.

          The details of our case are quite lengthy, include very serious threats from PSDS in an attempt to first keep both the funds and dog. Then to force me to accept placement of a dog w/zero verifiable training whatsoever.

          Can you give me your email address? I can give you my contact info so you at least know what you’re dealing with.

          Please be careful. File a complaint with AG’s office (charitable trusts) right now. You can easily do it online. Also I would sign nothing or simply not have any contact until AG can help you.

          Again, I am so sorry PSDS is at this still. Unreal….

          Alexa

        • You could try having an attorney send a demand letter. It’s not very costly…relatively speaking.
          Nate

    • I am not sure who posted the NBCBAYAREA link on the PSDS FB page, but all I can say is I am SO grateful they did. My husband and I thought we were the only family going through this with PSDS, and apparently we were/are not alone. I just happened to look up the PSDS FB page and lo and behold, I saw the NBC video and could not believe it…my stomach felt sick and my eyes welled up with tears that this was actually happening to other special needs children. Prayers for all of the families and children involved! May the truth and justice prevail!

      • Carmel is the one who posted the video on their FB page in order to attempt to respond to the criticism. It was a bad move and several people were able to comment before she decided to take it down. The funny part is that since it was linked from NBC’s page, all her comments are still showing there.

  8. All I can say my family’s experience mirrored your’s nearly 100% from the inability to produce accounting to lack of communication to the final delivery of a barely trained obedience dog.

  9. Our experience has been the same from beginning to end. The dog that was placed with us was a wonderful pet, not a service dog. We experienced problems in public from the first day and with the trainer present. AT this point, we don’t what to do, as we don’t trust them to provide a trained replacement. It is horrifying to hear so many having the same problems. A very sad situation for families trying to get help for their child with special needs.

    • Hi AD,
      Thanks for commenting. It seems there are a WHOLE LOT more people experiencing the same things that we never new about. Read through the comments and you’ll see there is a number of people who experienced everything we did.
      Sad, very sad.
      Nate

  10. You are not alone. We are one of the families in the lawsuit that you have read about. I saw that you were given some contact information to see if you can join our lawsuit; were you able to join in yet? Best wishes.
    Bethany

    • Hi B,
      There are MANY people who have experienced Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions’ inability to provide even a decent service dog. As for the lawsuit, we have not decided yet. We’re are in dialogue with the attorney though and are weighing our options. I am aware of several others who are considering joining in.
      Nathan

  11. I am very thankful that people are stepping up and sharing these stories. My daughter was approved for a service dog through PSDS. I had trouble with communication from the start. It would be days before a returned call, then weeks, and finally months. I had a very generous friend offer to pay the 10% required to sign the contract, and when I tried once again to contact PSDS, there was no response. Luckily, they shot themselves in the foot, so to speak. THEY posted a video (which later they deleted) that someone else had posted claiming one of their dogs wasn’t trained properly. Had I not seen it and the comments that were almost immediately deleted, I would have never known what was going on. I really feel like I dodged a bullet, but now we are stuck back at the beginning trying to find a new organization. With that said, any thoughts on Dog Wish or Little Angels Service Dogs? Both are located here in California.

    • Hello A,
      Glad to hear you were able to dodge this bullet!
      You can find that same video if you scroll through the comments of this post. Also, there are other good references for autism service dogs listed in the comments. I am unfamiliar with the companies you listed, but that doesn’t mean they are bad or that you shouldn’t pursue more info from them. Just make sure you do your homework before signing a contract and paying money.
      Nathan

    • Hi Amanda, it has been several months since I researched both Little Angels Service Dogs and Dog Wish Foundation, but my general comments should still be relevant. Those two organizations are at the opposite ends of service dog providers. Little Angels in San Diego provides dogs for “free”, so as you can imagine, the demand far outstrips supply. Offering “free” SD, with the overwhelming demand, they do prioritize applicants.

      That having been said, I use them as an example of how a reputable SD organization operates. Their Director, Katie Gonzalez, is extremely pleasant and helpful. Check their website, and they list their Board of Directors, show their IRS Form 990 tax information, actually shows their trainers, etc. Try to find any of that on PSDS’ site!

      Dog Wish Foundation’s SD are expensive, $25K-30K range. Its director, Bob Taylor, is a narcissistic psycho , though he is probably a very good trainer. He has a very high opinion of his abilities, and likes to throw around scientific terms, or scientific sounding terms, to try to impress. If you can afford the price, Dog Wish would be worth investigating further.

      As an aside, I’m glad that Carmel’s inadvertent posting to her PSDS FB page had the effect I desired. I noticed it about an hour after it was posted, and saw that negative comments hadn’t been deleted. That meant Carmel wasn’t paying attention, so I took the opportunity to blast her, but only with facts I could support. My comment stayed up for three hours, and my posting of a link to the Complaint filed in the lawsuit stayed up for two hours! Those comments and link went out to 1,654 Followers’ News Feeds!!! I was hoping it would be helpful to some, and also give supporters something to ponder. You may have noticed, in the four+ hours that the original post stayed up, not one single supporter blasted the critics… now that’s a first!

      Good luck to you in your search. Other suggestions may come up in the future; let us know what you find, too.

      Gene

      • Note: When I posted my comment, I wrote:
        “Its director, Bob Taylor, is a narcissistic psycho (half kidding), though he is probably a very good trainer.” But I used angle brackets, and they were stripped, along with the contents. I’m not looking for a lawsuit… just kidding, Bob!

        Gene

      • I have also encountered Bob Taylor of Dog Wish Service Dogs, and have noticed that he certainly does like to talk about how great he is, or was. He also likes to throw around scientific sounding words and brag about his alleged qualifications. He is the trainer, founder, director, sole proprietor of Dog Wish, and calls it a 501(c) 3, but he did not keep his personal funds separate from the Dog Wish Funds. That’s right, all the donations went into the same bank account as he used to pay his personal bills. Dog Wish is no longer eligible to be a 501(c)3, it was revoked in 2013 for failure to file any tax returns. Here is a link: http://www.guidestar.org/ViewPdf.aspx?PdfSource=0&ein=76-0758911 . In addition to mishandling of funds, he uses electronic shock collars to train dogs. He writes about and promotes himself a lot on the internet. He quotes the Bible often. He writes e-books, but he just loves to hear himself talk, and should be avoided at all costs. One of the qualities of a good con man, is Narcissism. This is meant as a warning to anybody interested in any type of Service Dog: Bob Taylor and Dog Wish are a fraud. Blessings and Best Wishes to all who are searching for a real, reliable Service Dog and trainer.

  12. Hi,

    We are have had the same experience as well. We are waiting for a SD now. We have sent two shirts in for advance training to begin. We haven’t heard back from them at all. We have been sending texts , emailing and finally receive this response today. We just found out the Patty is no longer working with PSDS, that made us do a search and we found the video this page.

    Can you send the lawyer information to my email? I want to discuss our options as well.

    We were getting excited and started getting our son ready for his SD. This is very sad.

    PL

    • Hello PL,

      This seems to be a reoccurring theme….

      I’ll send you a personal email with contact info.

      Nate

      • Hi, we put the deposit down and were about to start the fundraising. I know $1,350 isn’t much compared to what many of you are out, but can you email me the attorney contact?

  13. Nathan, I just saw on their FB page that they posted photo of Hazel and your daughter. Carmel has no shame 🙁

    • Yes, well….I requested she remove it. Then she removed my request and sent me an email explaining I signed a contract giving PSDS permission to use photos of the dog and my daughter. However, that doesn’t give her permission to use copyrighted works that she does not own. Several other people commented on the photo and she subsequently deleted those comments too….including the photographer! I sent her another email explaining how copyright works and what FB’s rules are. We’ll see how she responds….
      Nathan

  14. I saw this also. I’m not sure why she continues to post these pics. Haven’t these families been through enough? I’ve also noticed that she deleted previously posted pics of kids with SDs. Is it a coincidence that these families are actively posting complaints about her and Pawsitive? I think not. Who is she trying to

  15. I saw this also. I’m not sure why she continues to post these pics. Haven’t these families been through enough? I’ve also noticed that she deleted previously posted pics of kids with SDs. Is it a coincidence that these families are actively posting complaints about her and Pawsitive? I think not. Who is she trying to

    • Interesting…about a week after we flew Nana back, any photos of Nana or our family (one picture of our family during placement) were deleted, now they are back up, in addition to the 24 second recycled video clip. Makes me wish I did not agree to allowing them use any photos or videos, but they made no provision for that in the contract either…

      • Guess I should be thankful she pulled the picture of my child and his SD. I don’t want her to receive any positive feedback from it or

  16. For recipients of “failed placements” who are in contact with attorneys, ask whether using photos of you/your child in “false advertizing” on PSDS’ FB page is contrary to the law. It is unethical, and immoral, but ask whether it strengthens the suit against PSDS. It seems to fit under the “Second Cause of Action(Consumer Action Against Deceptive Practices Civil Code §§1750, et seq.” of the pending lawsuit.

  17. Per PSDS lawyer….they are in the process of dissolving the organization and placing the dogs with families still waiting. I wouldn’t hold out for return of funds, as their lawyer has stated they have no liquid funds. Time will tell. She is asking families to gather records, as PSDS paperwork is a mess.

    • AD,

      Considering my experiences w/PSDS, I would caution all to seek advice before sending documentation to assist with “messed up files.”
      PSDS is the subject of an audit by CA Attorney General. As of Friday July 11, AG was unaware they were “assisting PSDS in dissolution of company” as PSDS has stated (texts and emails to many current clients).
      May want to check with deputy AG, Alicia Berry – Charitable Trusts Section re: how or if to respond to PSDS’ requests for information.

      • I can send them my detailed files….that way she knows exactly where all the holes are. Haha!
        This is the first I’ve heard of them dissolving the organization. It’s a typical move to try and get litigation stopped. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes….
        Somebody send me an email with some info!!
        Nathan

        • You asked for an email. Below is an email that Puppy Raisers received on Thursday, July 10, 2014.
          SS

          Dear Puppy Raisers,

          As you are aware I am the temporary volunteer Director of Puppy Raising since Ron McDaniels resigned on June 21, 2014

          We will not be having our typical monthly puppy raiser meeting this month at the Franklin Ave office or at the mall or bowling alley after all as Pawsitive is now without funds to pay for dog food, worming, shots, or other puppy needs.

          Pawsitive’s puppies are legal assets of the non-profit corporation and must be safeguarded as such under California’s Non-profit laws and under direction of the Attorney General.

          Although Pawsitive currently lacks the funding and resources for dog food and supplies, Kim Stofer (one of our advanced task trainers) has graciously agreed to house our assets (puppies) at her training facility in Prunedale, CA until legal counsel can determine the lawful dispersement, placement, continued training or liquidation of these assets/dogs as our organization winds down and dissolves.

          Obviously food, heart worm and flea prevention and humane care are paramount as outlined in the volunteer puppy raiser agreement that each puppy raiser has signed.

          Pawsitive no longer has access to its commercial office space at 1288 Franklin Ave Suite 1 in Yuba City so Pawsitive does not have a space to temporarily house these dogs or supplies.

          Please contact our trainer Kim Stofer (408) 209-5331 immediately
          for making arrangements to transport your puppy/dog and crate/supplies/food to her facility Stofer’s Labs, until legal counsel gives us further direction in how to manage our assets/dogs. The puppies must be given their heart worm prevention on the 15th of the month as usual.

          If you have any additional questions you may also contact our attorney Gina Gingery at 530-809-1452 or ginagingery@gmail.com
          Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during these extremely difficult challenges. We certainly appreciate your past work and dedication to our cause.

          Bob Mooney

          • Thanks SS for the information. I’m curious as to how many puppies are out there…
            Any idea on how much they’ll be selling them for?
            Thanks again for your comments.
            Nathan

            • My understanding is they have quite a few 4 month old puppies, as Patty offered me one as a replacement dog. I only had to wait another 10 months! They were the only ones not spoken for yet. Oh, also the 2 labradoodles who were only 3 months at the time. If interested, Caleb at TDR breeds and sells Labs. You can get a puppy that already has basic training and temperament testing done. It’s a start for anyone interested in getting a dog trained themselves. Just a thought.

              • Yeah, but is he one the one’s that some of the dogs came from? The breeders she has used and is using makes me be a little more cautious…….. A Lot CAUTIOUS

              • AD makes a great point here about getting a pup that is already temperament tested and trained (I’m assuming with basic obedience or 2nd level). This is the best way (imo) to get a service dog. You contact the breeder, meet with the breeder, have your child meet with the pups, and see which pup best responds to your child and your child’s NEEDS. Your child grows and is trained along with this pup (that you already know has a special bond with your child). I know that my employer has already helped a few families and is planning on helping more to the best of her ability. You are welcome to contact us at Sonic Pride Labradors if you are interested in our pups. We are located in Prunedale, CA.

                I would also like to encourage you to take the following things into consideration whenever you are looking at any breeder:
                1. Check the peds! If there is any line/in-breeding, then your dog has a potential for health issues. You will most likely only get the standard 3 gen ped (which is fine), but breeders (when they take care to not line/in-breed their dogs) use at least a 10 gen ped to check all the lines. If you are looking at a 3 gen ped and see any line/in-breeding, then I recommend against that breeder (or against pups from that parent in the very least).
                2. The breeder should be proud to introduce you to their facility and dogs. If the breeder is wary about showing you the property or the parents, again, proceed with caution. I would recommend against proceeding at all…
                3. Certifications… Breeders will have certs done their dogs (eyes and hips being key for Labs. Labs from the mid west should also be checked for EIC). There are some exceptions to this that some people don’t think of: a) Breeders must pay to have their clearances posted through the OFA. Just because a breeder isn’t posted on the site, doesn’t mean they don’t have the certs; b) The dog has been certified in the past and proven its clean lines. The past certs have expired and the breeder does not want to invest time and money to re-cert the same dog; c) The dogs and lines have a proven record regarding certs. The breeder feels it is unnecessary to certify a dog that has clean/proven lines. d) Dog is actually too young to have certs done. Prelims can be done, but there is no written record (no physical copies you can obtain) for prelims.
                4. Health Guarantee. Breeders should have health guarantees for their dogs. The reasonable length for the guarantee will vary by breed. Basically, you’ll want the guarantee to cover at least up through the age when you can do the certs yourself. For Labradors, that is 2 years of age.
                5. Breeder should encourage you to visit your pup as you are waiting to take it home. This may vary from breeder to breeder in terms of convenience, but a good breeder will want you to have that special bond with your pup. This isn’t critical, but something to keep in mind.

                Hope this helps people in their pursuits. Buying from a breeder can be scary, but buying from the right breeder can be very rewarding and worth the time and research. Since you are looking for SD’s, try to find breeders that breed for temperament and/or have strong service lines. Good luck!

            • I know two puppies have been taken to the breeder. I’m not sure how many are out here still. There are a few who are only 4-5 months old and there were a few who were slightly older like 8-12 months old. If I had to guess, I would say there are about 10-15 dogs in the Yuba, Sutter, and Yolo area. Again, I cannot say for certain.

              As far as selling the dogs, I have no idea. Since the puppies are technically assets of the “non-profit”, any proceeds should go to the creditors (families and communities who contributed).

            • Neville is one of the dogs being raised now by a wonderful puppy raiser ! He is supposed to be my son Joshua’s dog. We signed contract and have sent them over $11,000 .

              • Mindy, I don’t know how much of this page you’ve read, but your information may be out-dated. Do a “search” on this page, and look for: “Dear Puppy Raisers” by Bob Mooney, Carmel’s husband. I’m afraid you won’t like what you read, but it does give you a contact phone/e-mail address to find out where Neville might be now. If you know how to contact Neville’s puppy-raiser, that might be better. Give us an update on what you find.

              • Hi M,
                I’m curious if you know how far along Neville’s training is. Did PSDS keep you updated on where the dog was at? Hopefully, he is close to being done or at advanced training?
                If you have not been in contact with the attorney who is working with us, I can give you his contact info if you like. Also, you may want to try and contact the Attorney General and see what they might be able to do since you had so much money into the contract already and that Neville might be close to being ready for placement. Thoughts anyone???
                Nate

                • Neville is only 5 months old, he knows many commands , he is covert smart and a quick learner but he still has a ways to go before he is placed In advanced training. I am very close with his puppy raiser and we communicate often. I have been emailed by Ms. Gingery but I think she is the attorney for C. Mooney and not PSDS. What a nightmare , here we trust someone to help us be able to help our kids with autism and look what happens. I understand her daughter as autism as well. How would she have felt if this happened to them. Also what’s up with the book she has written a about how to make money? All we want is Neville and trained correctly.

                  • Mindy, I don’t know if Kim is going to continue training these dogs until they have advanced training. I would guess not, as there is apparently no money left. If Neville has been socialized, you might consider taking him at his current age and seeking out a trainer to finish the job. Otherwise, you may be in the same situation as many of us and lose the money anyway. Just a thought. I know the boy that is getting Mickey is receiving his training in Aug. per his mother’s post, but Mickey was further along.

      • That’s not bad advice. However, if you have proof of how much money was donated toward a dog that has not yet been received (other horribly-placed dogs not withstanding), then it might not be a bad idea to show proof of what has been donated so that if there is any ability to return funds, you can prove how much you’re supposed to get back.
        That said, it would also be wise to also contact the appropriate attorneys.
        Nathan

  18. Pingback: Other Families Have Also Been Scammed by Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions! | Pawsitively not a Service Dog Solution

  19. I just feel sick to my stomach reading about everyone else’ experience. We have a PSDS dog for our son. We had similar experiences. Like some of you, we started the process before there were any bad reviews out there. I was in close contact with Patty the whole time and felt awful for all of the struggles that she was facing in her personal life. I think I was too gracious and tried to be understanding. I was tempted to stop the process after we started but I told myself that our son needed to have a special bond with dog. Now we have the dog, but he is just a dog. After 6 months he is not helpful and my son has not bonded with him (although I don’t place blame on the dog for that but my autistic son isn’t interested in bonding with him). Every time I leave the house I question whether I want to bring him with us or leave him in his crate. I am tempted to get help from a trainer, but I have no records of his vaccinations (and can’t get them) so I’m not sure what to do. I feel embarrassed and ashamed, I don’t want to admit to all of the people who donated that we failed. I wonder if there will ever be a bond between our dog and our son and if there is something else that I can do to help it develop.

    • Hi S,
      I’m saddened by your story just like all the others. However, you are not alone and a vast majority of those commenting here share your burden, frustration and embarrassment. It’s not your fault and you need to continue to fight for both your son’s needs and for justice in this situation. That said…here is some tips for everyone. Perhaps I’ll write another blog post here soon that covers some of this information in more depth.
      Don’t be afraid to get help and find a trainer. Chances are, they’ve heard of scenarios like yours! Regardless, find a trainer willing to help you out, there are lots out there that love what they do and do it well. For the immunizations, we couldn’t verify them either. Just go to your vet or local animal shelter and get them done anyway. It won’t hurt them to have it done again. Most shelters charge a small fee (ours was only $10 for rabies) and some offer discounts for service dogs.
      For those of you already have the dog placed with you, do not give up. Dogs are always trainable…it just takes work. I know you already paid for the “work” to be done, but given the current scenarios we all share, you can step in and take over for PSDS’ mistakes. This is what we had to do for Hazel and we’ve had pretty good success.
      The internet is your friend. Do a search on dog training. We found this site to be extremely helpful. You can access it on Youtube or FB, but they’re the same people. Lots of very helpful short videos on how to train your dog to do basic commands as well as more advanced stuff like tracking and tethering. Check them out!
      http://www.youtube.com/user/PatienceBurns
      https://www.facebook.com/TheServicePups
      Nathan

      • I agree Nathan. There are many trainers who have offered to help us, especially when they heard the situation. I’m sure many of our dogs can be trained, but unfortunately some did not receive proper socialization in their puppy years. Not to encourage anyone to give up, but to provide a realistic picture if this is your case. Having spoken to many trainers, commands can definitely be taught and brushed up on, but socialization can not. Be sure to have a training evaluate your dog, as you don’t want to spend a lot of money on training if it’s not going to work. We continue to socialize our dog daily in public, but it requires one person to handle him at all times. Unpredictable dogs in public settings can be a liability and you should be aware of that. The owner, not Pawsitive, is liable if the dog should bite someone out of fear. Hopefully, this is not an issue for most of the dogs. Our dog arrived fearful of men and has leash aggression. Do not give up on your dog, just do your research and seek qualified trainers to help you.

    • Agreed, AD. Receiving an untrained dog from PSDS is one thing, whether it is possible to make the dog into a SD suitable for a child is quite another. As AD suggests, get a professional evaluation of your dog before spending a lot of time and/or money on training the dog.

      There are at least four categories of these dogs that were not qualified service dogs at the time of placement. Some people received Labradors that came from a kennel. Those dogs were bred to be sold as hunting dogs, but were not purchased. They spent 6-8 months in the kennel, having received no socialization or public access training, very little obedience training, and apparently mistreated by “caretakers”. These dogs tend to be skittish in public, rather bond to the mother than the child, and are afraid of men. This breeder may have placed a “chip” in their dogs, so it may be possible to get some history on it.

      PSDS placed some dogs that were not Labradors, and I have no idea of their background. They did not come from any of the breeders that PSDS used, I assume they came from the above mentioned kennel, but I don’t know.

      PSDS puppy-raisers were not selected for their demonstrated skills at training puppies. In addition to varying skills, I’m sure there was a variation as to their dedication to the puppy-raising task.

      While PSDS was getting puppies from Top Dog Retrievers, TDR also performed the advanced training and SD placements, the following is my understanding of what took place. At 7 weeks old, puppies were evaluated for temperament. Only a minority of puppies are suitable to become SD, based on temperament alone. The puppies then went to puppy-raisers for 8-10 months. Upon being returned to TDR, they again were evaluated, and not all proceeded to advanced training.

      Carmel started to take “shortcuts” that lead to the falling out between the two organizations. It seems that Carmel totally abandoned using temperament as a criteria, according to one breeder.

      All of this verbiage was simply to reinforce the need to get professional evaluation of your dog, and, don’t expect every dog to be suited to become SD, regardless of training. However, if the evaluation proves out, it is still possible that a suitable SD can be salvaged… wishing you the best!

      If you don’t have the medical records, as Nathan recommended, proceed with the immunizations as if they haven’t receive any.

      • Very true Gene. Even if a dog is well socialized, it may never have the temperament to be a SD. Only a small percentage ever pass temperament tests (20-30%) . Being a SD is very stressful. Most dogs are better suited for different roles. I personally have observed how stressful it is for my dog to be in public. He is very fearful of the world in general and only relaxes at home.

        • I’m surprised to hear that only 20-30% of most dogs pass temperament testing considering that, of the litters we test for temperament when they are being placed for service needs, we have never had a dog fail (and we test them at the ideal age, so they’re not just passing because they are older dogs). Of course, some litters are less ideal when it comes to being a service dog, but we would never place or recommend them as such.

          It sounds like people need to find the right breeder for service dogs if that is what you are looking for. I realize that this is easier said than done, but I invite anyone who is interested to contact us at Sonic Pride Labradors and/or visit our facility if you are still in search of an SD. We take great pride and joy in helping families who need a great quality service dog. We usually don’t train beyond second level obedience, but the owner of SPL may be open to it considering what so many people who have dealt with PSDS have already gone through. In the very least, we can meet you and your family and make sure that you are matched up with the ideal dog that suits your needs.

        • Anyone know where to take the dogs for professional evaluation or how to select a trainer? I’m in the Sacramento area.

          • Hello S,

            I do not personally do the training at our facility, Sonic Pride Labradors, but I do help temperament test the pups (I only help with the litters that I don’t interact with). When I get back to the office next week, I could provide you with our temperament testing form if you think that would help?

            I also could recommend a few trainers to you that are local to our area in Prunedale, CA 93907 (that’s about 3 hours from you though…)

        • Hi Alex,
          Can you expand on your warning about TDR? They were breeder/trainer advertised last year and the reason I chose PSDS. It would be helpful to know your concerns. Thank you!

          • Hi Alexa I don’t know if you have seen what I posted above. It is sad that TD knew these dogs were going into SD homes and still purchased the dogs for PSDS. Then SL teaches the three tasks…… if that is what you want to call it. Then says they are SD!! Really? They weren’t even potty trained! CGC, Canine Good Citizen certification, did anyone’s dog receive one? They are awarded by certified AKC trainers and have to be signed off by the trainer. From a lot of the experiences I don’t see how they can be certified. It is sad how $$ plays a part on how some people conduct business.

            • Alex, you have more inside knowledge than most of us, so it is good to see your perspective. Your last sentence, as a stand-alone sentence, says it all, I think everyone here agrees with that.

              • Alex,
                Thank you for info re: TDR. They recently obtained final NP status to train/place SDs. I’ve been in regular contact since March, visited once (with a friend, also a dog trainer for professional 2nd opinion). We watched a young SDiT (with Hailey at the helm – solo) and were quite impressed. The facility and SDs appeared well cared for, and well above others I’ve researched. Plenty of room, support staff, happy and healthy looking dogs throughout and great feeling from C and T and references?
                I am saddened and beyond shocked to learn TDR was complicit in the “kennel dogs” fiasco, knowingly engendering kiddos. I am, by no means, intimating your info is not correct, I am simply shocked and need to recalculate. I am currently negotiating and about to enter contract with them (Hero For Hailey – take 2). I will be speaking to them about this ASAP. Thankfully, I am NOT under contract nor have I paid a dime, yet. Since I now have “PSDS – PTSD” trusting my own judgement and research is not easy or concincing to me. PSDS looked great a year ago too. Ugh, missed that mark didn’t I? Thank you again for the heads up.
                Alexa

      • Hi Gene,
        Many of us have been trying to obtain more info on our dogs through their chips. It appears that the “hunting dogs” were acquired from AAA Labradors. I have been searching where the 6 mixed breed dogs came from. The animal hospital that placed the chip believes they are from the rescue group they work with. While we love our dog, it’s disturbing to realize we paid $12,500 for a rescue dog with 2 months of training. I could have done that myself for a couple of thousand dollars. Pawsitive was taking short cuts to meet the demand for more dogs. There are no words……

        • Hi AD. I don’t have any inside information on these, just what I’ve gleaned online. I don’t know that there were only six mixed breeds, that is the number when you got “first pick”, if I remember correctly. If you send me an e-mail at simpsongene212 (at) yahoo.com I will give you the contact information for the person who got the “first pick” when there were four mixed breeds from which to choose. She is happy with her pick, but you may be able to compare notes as to whether they came from the same place. You may already know of this person; on another blog, you made reference to Angela still being the handler trainer in a short video clip.

          • Thanks Gene…Yes, I’m aware of who received the “first” and “third” pick. I was the 2nd. The other 3 were still at Kim’s when I was up there in June. I’m glad she is happy with her dog. I will send you an email….thanks.

  20. Google Carmel Mooney and it looks like she’s on twitter now ranting about Obama and making zucchini bread…HA! Someone already forgot about the families she’s ripped off. Her life carries on without a missed beat! As my son is riddled with bruises from his SIB meltdowns, I’m financially tapped out and emotionally defeated, Carmel sits back and watches her garden grow… Did my $$ pay for that garden? Or was it for the trips and wine to Tahoe, EDH or Monterey? That looked like a fun time, thanks for sharing (at least you shared the tab and pictures)
    Hey Carmel (you’re reading this which I know you are because all you do is social media) you might want to delete your twitter; similar to how you deleted the fb and ig… I’m guessing Gingery didn’t mention twitter considering it’s usually a tween thang, most people grow out of it. And please stop taking selfies and saying you’re related to Daniel Boone. Nobody cares, it just makes you look- well…outdated and unremorseful.
    If ya’ll feel like hearing Patty apologize to you, just call her cell. She knows what she did, she also is now aware that as the financial director, she too can be sued by the AG for all of our lost funds… Written in the AG handbook page 24 of 60.

  21. I gave PSDS $6,250.00 before I found out what kind of company they were. I filed a complaint against them to the better business bureau and the Attorney General before they went out of business. I heard nothing back from either place. Does anyone know what I can do from here?

    • You should receive a letter in the mail from the AG stating they received your complaint. At this time, there’s not much else you can do but wait and keep informed. Hang in there!

  22. Hi. I’m the father a puppy raiser for Pawsitive. I’m looking for help after this company went belly up. From all I have read on the internet I have made my own assumption and it’s not a favorable impression. At this junction I’m looking for help keeping the dog, meaning we love the dog and after seeing what has transpired I feel the best recourse is to not let this dog back into the hands of Pawsitive. I understand my child has signed an agreement and the dog is an “Asset” of Pawsitive. But the contract was breached when this company folded. I cannot in good conscience let the dog go be put in a cage and sold (liquidated) to the highest bidder. Please all of you who have been through so much if you have a phone number to a lawyer that can help me please post. Thank you…concerned father.

    • I can see why you would be concerned about your puppy. Many of us did not return our dogs for the same reason. I didn’t want my dog to be renamed, sent to another unsuspecting family, or dumped in a kennel. You could refuse to give the puppy back and see what happens. They are rather busy with other legal matters right now. Thank you for giving your time and love to this puppy. I only wish my dog had received such devotion and care as a puppy.

      • Thank you for your quick reply’s. I’m a little leery to contact PSDS’s lawyer Gina Gingery for she would have PSDC best interest in mind and not mine my puppy raiser and the dog’s. At this point PSDC owes us money and it is accumulating by the day. I would have thought that the case against this org would have had some sort of agreement by the AG and the lawyers ironed out for the puppy raisers besides a cheap letter saying we have no way to take care of the dogs so bring them to a friend’s kennel to be sold to the highest bidder….or something worse……..no no no not going to happen!

        • The fact they owe you money is interesting. Perhaps if you keep all your receipts and show proof of expense, you can make a “trade.” Your past expenses (which are owed) for the dog…effectively you would be “purchasing” the dog. I’m not a legal guy, but that’s my two cents.
          Nate

          • That is exactly what we are doing presently. My child has kept all receipts…..They are not getting the dog back without paying the money we have spent…..beyond that I’m looking for a permanent way to keep the dog……we love it…….and I am with holding names on this blog because I don’t know who is monitoring this blog…ie PSDC!

          • I heard they are friends and go out to dinner at high end places in Monterey and Carmel together. I wonder on whose dime?

        • Just my opinion, but if they owe you money for expenses, you are in a good position to keep the dog. I kept the dog I was placed with and am not worried about repercussions. They essentially owe me (and other families) $12,500 because I was never placed with a full trained SD. My understanding is there are no funds left, so they will be unable to reimburse you for expenses. Therefore, keep your dog. Good luck and get all communication in writing. 🙂

    • Hi concerned father,
      I am kind of thinking that your child may be puppy raising the dog intended for my child. We would still love to get this dog. Nathan please feel free to e-mail my address to concerned father or visa versa. I would like to know where our dog is at this time.

      • Hi JB,
        I will email Concerned Father and ask his permission to pass your information on. I’m hesitant to take a position on matters like this. Quite frankly, I’m not convinced many people have much claim to specific dogs at this point mainly because nobody really has any access to the real PSDS paperwork (if there even is any!) that would specifically spell out this kind of detail as to which dog was designated for which child. In addition, regardless of which family has paid how much by this time, it is still difficult to speculate that a particular dog should even be placed with that family. Based on past experience, many of the older dogs may not have received (or may not even be ready to receive) advanced training. JB, it’s not that I don’t believe you…far be it! But I can see that other families who have been jilted by PSDS will begin staking similar claims in order to receive some sort of “compensation” because they have already invested money in PSDS and now anticipate not receiving anything back.
        I caution all those who have been taken advantage of by PSDS…please be patient. This is a difficult situation that affects many many families. If you have specific claims toward a certain dog (that is being held by a puppy raiser), I suggest you contact the Attorney General who is aware of PSDS being dissolved. I am unaware of their specific involvement, but they may be able to more accurately help you with your claims/rights/obligations. In addition, if people need to get in contact with the attorney helping this case out, I can pass that information along. However, I must warn you that even he is limited in his ability (at this point) to decipher the dog-to-family claims.
        Nathan

        • Nathan,
          Thanks for your quick reply. We are trying to figure things out on our end. I do have messages specifically stating the name of the dog promised to us. I am trying find out where this dog is right now.

          • Hi JB,
            Another possibility is to contact Kim who is supposed to be housing the puppies in Prunedale (see puppy raiser letter). I’m not sure how much she can help, but she might be able to tell you if she has a particular puppy at her place. Like Nathan, I would caution you re: PSDS dogs. We kept our dog suspecting we would not be seeing any money back. We believed our dog was better than no dog. That is not necessarily true. A partially trained dog is going to require a bigger commitment of time and money. You may not be able to take the dog in public and therefore need to have a plan B. This is what we are dealing with now. You may want to wait and see what happens with the AG and lawyer. Just a thought.

    • Puppy raisers want everyone to know we truly empathize with these families. We got involved with this organization because we wanted to make a difference in these children’s and families lives. We are all volunteers and while PSDS provided the basic needs of the puppies we used our own resources as well. But more importantly, we gave our love. When we received the letter from the attorney we were all devastated and heart broken. Some of us have not turned over our puppy, not because we want to keep it as a pet but because we could not stand the thought of it being placed in a kennel or worse. We do not look at these sweet living creatures as assets to be liquidated. They are a part of our families, our hearts, our children’s hearts. We all want to see them do what we have been raising them to do. I, personally, chose to take my puppy to Kim. I was terrified that Carmel would show up at my door demanding him. I could not bare the thought of him in a tiny crate for hours in a hot garage with no water. We have all kept silent, fearing what the future held with PSDS. Now, reading all of the comments, please know that our hearts are broken as well. We are not out thousands of dollars as these families are but we are losers in this situation as well.

      • Hi PR,
        Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure anyone here blames the puppy raisers at all. There is no need to defend yourself. I think most of us appreciate the effort all the puppy raisers have put in to the volunteer job. It’s unfortunate that so many of you were put in the difficult position that was forced upon you. Some have kept the dogs to protect them and others have kept them for compensation because PSDS owed them money. Some, like you, returned them. I’m not convinced any of these are the wrong response, but all them are problematic in some way. This is just another example of lack of planning and decision-making on the part of the PSDS directors. Regardless, I applaud all the puppy raisers for their hard work in helping to train dogs for special needs children. In addition, I would encourage all of you to not let your bad experience with PSDS prevent you from finding a reputable service dog organization and start again doing the same thing.
        Nathan

      • I have been in contact with Mim and we have decided against taking the dog that was supposedly promised to my daughter. I have heard from others that the dog intended for my daughter had medical issues with his nose and will bite if you touch his face. I don’t know the full extent of wether this was an actual medical condition or abuse. If any of you puppy raisers want your dogs that you turned over to Kim, I would contact her. Last I heard she still had 9 Pawsitive dogs.

        • Sadly, it seems is lot is being said about the younger puppies to keep the families from taking them. It looks like that is where some money can be made up for one interested party, in selling the young puppies and not so much with the older dogs. I am very curious what the name of the puppy is with the sore nose.

  23. I had not seen this until today, the following is a statement made by Patty about her dealings with PSDS:

    [link removed by blog administrator per request of defendant]

    • I never met Patty, but through my dealings with her over the phone, I could tell she was a very caring, sweet, and generous person. It’s unfortunate that she got mixed up in all of this and couldn’t do something to stop all of this sooner. I hope she is able to help many in getting the justice they deserve and in bringing Carmel down.

      • I felt the same way. Patty was very helpful to us. I did question their record keeping though. Missing several donations that I knew about. My last total update was May 27 and just after that I sent a chunk of an amount and I never got record of the total June . After that it all went Down hill.

        • Patty was very nice over the phone (when we could get a hold of her). Our experience was highly frustrating, little to no communication in regards to status or training of the dog, lost funds (or so we told), at one point Patty told me that a number of donations came in from Pay Pal, but there was no child’s name designated…so I am assuming PSDS “dispersed those funds as they saw fit,” we also never received a final accounting, it’s funny how our family’s file and service dog file were never accessible to any PSDS staff. From my understanding, Patty may also be under investigation for embezzlement.

          • That wouldn’t surprise me if she was under investigation. She honestly should be. Even if she was kept in the dark, she could have put her foot down and demanded answers and clarity. I essentially think Carmel screwed her just as she has screwed over so many other countless people, but an investigation should be done to figure out how much Patty is at fault.

          • I’m hoping the IRS gets more involved….based on the tax returns they filed, they could be charged with tax fraud since it’s clear they did not file the correct returns when you consider the amount of revenue they generated.

  24. *I hope we can all get on the same wave length soon because I’m having a hard time believing people think Patty and Chris have their noses clean in all of this.

    Patty had to be nice in order to rip all of us off. What accountant can’t produce a financial receipt when asked five separate occasions? And what person “volunteers” and believes she deserves $3,000 a month? Wake up people!! That’s $36000 ($18/hr) a year for sitting in her accounting office and doing her real job. Or 3 untrained dogs, double the minimum wage, however you want to look at it. Did everyone forget she also took a $5000 loan to buy a personal vehicle? I’m repulsed, and saddened people still look at her as morally sound.
    I wonder how much Christie (her daughter) felt her time was worth…
    Carmel- 5000 a month
    Patty- 3000 a month
    Chris- ?? A month
    $8000+ for doing WHAT???? Not returning emails or texts and praying on
    vulnerable families. Buying cars, traveling on our dime!! Wait wait wait- let me say that again, OUR DISABLED CHILDREN’S $$$.
    What profession is skilled in hiding money and working the system to benefit oneself? ACCOUNTING
    What business firm does Chris and Patty own? ACCOUNTING

    • The below is excerpted from a “Declaration” Patty made, the link to which has been posted on this site, and others. However, many people posting here may not have seen it.
      —————————————————–
      [text removed by blog administrator]
      —————————————————–

      There is no question in my mind that Patty was fully aware and complicit in what was happening from the beginning. I believe that Carmel was the “mastermind”, but Patty implemented all the financial aspects. I don’t think Patty felt she “deserved” what she was being paid, but her salary increases were in conjunction with Carmel raising hers. If the president is getting $5,725/month plus a “company car”, it looks bad to have the vice president receiving only a stipend.

      There has been mention of Christie and Angela, but weren’t their husbands also involved? What about Bob, Carmel’s husband? I’m sure all this will be coming out, but the payroll seems to be excessive when compared to the amount of “income” being generated. Keep in mind, we still haven’t started to pay for any of that “advanced training” you all thought was happening. By using volunteer puppy-raisers, and minimizing advanced training costs, was the only way to “make ends meet”. That is also why Carmel kept expanding the network of puppy-raisers, to make more puppies available, to bring in more donations… which was being spent almost as quickly as it was being donated. It was a form of a Ponzi Scheme; there was no “trust fund” set up for donations from your individual cases. All donations went into a “box”, and money was withdrawn from that box. Not only was Patty an accountant, but an Enrolled Agent, supposedly a step above.

      In addition to the financial acrobatics, Patty was well aware of dogs being place that should not have been. This goes back to at least last August, so when she told recipients that the problems of their own making, she knew better. It should be mentioned that there were recipients who had no clue of how to handle a dog, and any dog will “test” a new handler. However, I hold PSDS negligent for not taking that into account, and preparing the recipient prior to placement.

      All of my comments above are IMO, what comes out in court proceedings may differ.

      • In response to your second to last paragraph, I thought new families were supposed to have a trainer stay with them for at least 5 days so that the families could be trained on how to work with and handle the dogs (that is based on information I received from one of their trainers who eventually stopped working for them and voiced many complaints against them and was also threatened to be sued if said trainer came forward). Did PSDS stop doing that altogether? Were dogs just shipped and/or dropped off without any instruction or training?! I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but I am extremely sad to hear it.

        My understanding is that the contract bullied families into accepting and dealing with whatever PSDS decided to do. Is that accurate?

        Thank you and anyone else for your time answering my questions.

        • ST, most of your questions are answered in the following:

          [removed by blog administrator]

          Misty must be the “mystery trainer” to whom you refer. She is prominently mentioned in the Complaint above.

          As to whether your “at least 5 days”, (the fact is “at most 5 partial days”), of handler training is sufficient when the recipient has had no dog handling experience, then go read the websites of some reputable SD organizations about how they train to-be recipients… and that is in addition to 7-14 days of handler training… plus regular follow-ups after placement.

          Little Angels Service Dogs
          http://www.littleangelsdogtraining.net

          Heeling Autism
          http://www.guidingeyes.org/prospective-students/children-with-autism

          Canine Companions for Independence
          http://www.cci.org

            • Hello All,
              Nathan,
              I need to ask that you please remove the declaration of Patty Basile from public view. I realize many have seen and commented, however the declaration was obtained by counsel in defense of PSDS’ civil suit for damages against me.

              If one is so inclined, the declaration may be viewable via El Dorado County Superior Court. At the advice of counsel, I removed all court documents some time ago, from both Hero For Hailey (FB Community Page) and my personal blog but it appears this declaration was already “grabbed” by that time.

              I am so sorry for all in this on-going saga. When the civil suit against me, currently at bar, is resolved I will be happy to share any information that may be useful. Until then, I must act in my best interest and ask that the document be removed from public view by this site and any others that may have “grabbed” the link.

              I pray you all will understand. Thank you in advance.

              Alexa Fila

              I am not uncomfortable with sharing the information, I am uncomfortable at the risk this pose to my defense

              • Yes it has been served, it was also served with 4 additional declarations that are not circulating as is this one? It is directly related to a civil suit against me, personally, so again, please either publish ALL public record documents in this case or please remove this.

                Gene, I appreciate your assurance that counsel said it was OK, however, I am the one under threat of a suit for damages. Therefore, it seems reasonable to me, despite what you say my attorney said, that I request this particular link (taken from my personal posting and/or email to a “friend”) be removed.
                Thank you in advance Nathan.
                Alexa Fila

                • A and G,
                  Out of respect for Alexa, I removed all the links I could find. Gene, I understand your points and have no issues with the documents being published or linked to on my blog. However, out of respect for the emotional impact lawsuits can bring to people, I removed them. They’ve served their original purpose and part of that was to help get the word out by sharing the detailed information they contained. When it comes to the larger issues of Pawsitive, the original complaint filed is still available and still the best resource for people to review.
                  For those who wish to read any of the Declarations (there are several), I suggest requesting them from the attorney and he will pick and choose who to send them to based on his current understanding of the situation.
                  In addition, anyone that is looking for information can simply see the vast number of people involved in this blog and read through all their stories in order to grasp just how big this problem is with just this one company.
                  Nathan

                • That information is important to us because we are all being screwed over and left in the dark, while you’re about to get your service dog, and are posting happy photos all around. sorry if i don’t feel all that bad for you Alexa. But thanks for demanding it all be taken down, that really helps us all out a bunch.

                  • Hello A,
                    Thanks for stopping by. I sympathize with your pain and frustration, but please understand nearly everyone that has posted here has similar situations. You are not alone in your anger. However, please do not criticize Alexa for asking to remove documents that could possibly hurt her case. Although she may get her service dog sooner than others, it is not without struggle. And it is quite possible that others may not get a service dog at all due to all the nasty issues PSDS has created. But for those who have (or will) receive a dog, we need to rejoice and embrace their opportunity and excitement.
                    It is a difficult balance for me to juggle everyone’s requests and still allow this blog post to be an open forum. As I stated previously to her request, I am willing to forward all the contact information from the attorney who is willing to help people out with their fight against PSDS. I can forward that contact info on to you if you like.
                    Nathan

                  • Annb,

                    I am so sorry. I do feel unfairly graced, often quite guilty to be able to move forward in getting a SD for Hailey. I struggle with this every single day.

                    Please know I exerted extreme effort and employed every single resource available to me to inform other parents of my experiences with PSDS for many months prior to all this. For my efforts, among many other unpleasant consequences, I am now forced to defend myself in PSDS’ suit seeking a judgement against me for very substantial monetary damages.

                    This is not your problem or responsibility, I chose to do what I felt morally obligated to do. I would do it again given the same circumstances. The repercussions are mine alone.

                    I am truly sorry to you and your family.

                    • It is important to remember we are all in this together. Although all of us have different situations and challenges, we are all victims of PSDS. Some will have better outcomes than others. If it wasn’t for the families that were brave enough to speak up and tell their stories, the number of families impacted would be much higher. I can only hope that justice is served and our children get the trained SD they deserve.

          • Other organizations require an intensive 2 week training and public access test with the new owner before giving them their SD. That aside, in order for the “5 days of training” to be effective, families had to have a fully trained SD with public access. This is where it all fell apart. First, I was lied to when Patty said my SD never displayed bad behavior at Pawsitive. (Angela was present when behaviors occurred all 5 days of training.) Then, Angela lied by stating my SD “just needed to settle in”. I take full responsibility for believing them, even when my gut knew better. Why would I believe this organization would purposely deceive me? Pawsitive knowingly lied and placed untrained dogs with many families and then blamed us for the problems.

    • I very much agree….Patty is HIGHLY culpable in this situation. The moral, ethical and legal implications of her actions are highly suspect…especially with her being a CPA.
      Nathan

  25. Yes, Patty was always pleasant on the phone. Yet, many of us never received any paperwork showing donations made to our children. We personally had a discrepancy of $2,000 on our account. My fundraisers were furious that an accountant couldn’t keep track of the money. Yet, she misrepresented the company, the status of our dog, the training of our dog, etc. I think I am the most hurt by her actions because she knew my child’s challenges and how badly he needed this dog and continued to lie to our family. I understand that she was an employee of Pawsitive, but she could have taken the higher road and just been honest during her dealings with us. I will say the same of her niece, Angela, who lied to many of us about our dogs’ behaviors during placement. This entire debacle has been a lesson in moral and ethical values….or lack of. Enough said!

    • Agreed. It’s definitely upsetting that they weren’t forthright with things. I do wonder to what degree Patty was kept in the dark/pushed around and just said what she was told to say and to what degree she knowingly lied, but, either way, I’m sure she could have done more along the way.

      My dealings with Patty were very limited compared to the families here who are voicing their grievances. I spoke with her on a handful of occasions, the most important of which was about donating a dog to one of their trainers who we had the pleasure of meeting and who had just finished a battle with cancer… Patty was very helpful in the entire affair, but later Carmel came down on us and our company saying that we couldn’t donate the dog and that Patty had no right to give us clearance on that. I realize that I had limited perspective regarding my dealings with Patty and PSDS and that mine was much different, but my impression is that Patty largely got bullied around and misled by Carmel.

  26. Hi Nathan,

    I wanted to update you to let you know that Hazel is not one of our dogs. Haley was one of our dogs, and I got the names mixed up. Usually we know our dogs pretty well by name, but since Pawsitive named them, I couldn’t remember clearly. Sorry for the misinformation. Best of luck with Hazel!

  27. Any suggestions on how to encourage an autistic child to bond with a dog? We’ve had our dog since February and training complications aside, our son just isn’t all that interested in bonding with him. He is responsible for feeding the dog and plays fetch with him daily. But he doesn’t like the “cuddles” which we thought he would love. He sometimes requests to bring the dog with us on outings but completely ignores the dog the whole time. I thought that they would’ve bonded by the 6 month mark and I’m getting discouraged. Will it ever happen? Thanks

    • My child has not bonded with our dog either and he is very loving. I was reading that statistically only 65% of kids with SDs actually bond with them and it usually occurs after 6 months. My child enjoys him as a pet, but really doesn’t pay him much attention otherwise. I just keep encouraging them, but frankly our dog has bonded with me. Hang in there and try your best. That’s all any of us can do. 🙂

      • By the way, my child hates cuddling also….when our dog decides to perform this task. He doesn’t even like our dog to sit too close to him in the car. It irritates him. I think it’s important to remember that not all of these tasks SD companies state are helpful for kids with Autism, are desired by our child. Our kids are individuals, and as I’m finding out, are not always receptive to the various techniques a SD can provide. 🙂

        • I was told by a trainer (not PSDS, i mean a real trainer) that a dog will usually bond with the person who feeds (including treats), sleeps with, and cuddles it. hope this helps.

          • oh, and also, a suggestion from that trainer that has been helping us quite a bit, is that if your child is resistant to cuddling or caring for the dog, give your child treats when he interacts with the dog. “oh you gave your dog pets! great job! here’s a treat. look you lifted up his paw! here’s a treat. did you just give your doggie a treat? that is awesome, here’s a treat for you too.” that sort of thing…

    • S, I have no personal experience with SD/Autism, so I can’t be helpful in that respect. However, I can offer observations, suggestions, and to help with research. People coming to this blog tend to be those with a connection with PSDS, who either haven’t received a SD, or received a dog that didn’t live up to expectations of a SD… to put it mildly. You may benefit by tapping into a broader range of experiences, both the good, along with the not so good, and not limited to those with a connection to PSDS.

      Do you currently have contact with a “Group” of parents of autistic children who have experience living with a service dog? A quick search indicates it will take lots of digging to find anything useful, and there may be “Closed” groups, making it more difficult to know if you want to participate. I know of a person who received a questionable SD from PSDS, who communicates with several other SD owners, including those not from PSDS. I didn’t follow up at the time whether this was a formal group, with invitation to join, or simply friends comparing notes.

      AD above makes many good points, and I have read that bonding to the mother, rather than to the child, is common. There must be groups out there that have discussed such concerns about their SD, and may have found a solution. If others here have insight into this, please speak up, otherwise, I can start digging if you’d like.

  28. I’m happy for Alexa and anyone else who manages to get an SD. These are public documents. Seek and you shall find or as we say nowadays… Google it

    • For those wishing to file a complaint with the California Attorney General, please use this link. Fill it out then mail it in. The more people and the sooner the better.
      http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/charities/charitable/ct9.pdf
      It would also be beneficial to get your state assemblyman, senator, representative (whatever) and ask them to put pressure on the California AG on filing a lawsuit against PSDS.

      For those wishing to get in contact with the attorney who is helping fight PSDS, please comment and I’ll forward you information.

      Nathan

  29. Wow. I am speechless. I can’t believe this is happening….

    We signed a contract and sent $6250 in April 2014. Never head anything about our dog, Tug, and emailed Carmel to ask if he was even alive?!? She responded and said he was doing fine and we could keep up with him on Instagram. I got the email from Pawsitive’s attorney regarding the lawsuit and situation. We responded to her TWICE over a week ago and have heard nothing yet. We have a copy of our signed contract and a copy of the cashed check that cleared through our bank. We had our own money fundraised through a website and have the remainder of our $15,500, which is close to about $9000. At this point, I would just like to get our dog and find somewhere else to train him. That was one of the options she listed. Should we contact the AG or wait for her response? Thinking of getting our own attorney as well. One of our biggest donors is a very seasoned corporate attorney. All I have to say…..I am not even CLOSE to being done fighting for my son. I’ve been doing it for his entire 5 years of life and I won’t stop now…..

    • Hi KM,
      Thanks for commenting. Please….do not give up. I will email you the contact information for the attorney who is currently fighting PSDS. It would be good for you to contact him and see what information he can provide. Perhaps your attorney friend can partner with ours???
      Nate

    • Carmel makes me absolutely sick. From what I understand, she doesn’t even live with her daughter–she had her shipped off to some sort of boarding school. When I hear her say things about her being “devastated”…. I’ve never wanted to punch somebody so badly in my life. It’s bad enough she has put so many of you through so much; it makes it infinitely worse that she’s pretending like she’s a good person and cares.

      I posted the link on the Facebook page so hopefully more people will stumble across it and have access to it. I’m trying to remain neutral on FB, so I’m venting on here. I hope you don’t mind.

      • S. T., while I agree with a lot of what you said, I do not judge Carmel for placing her daughter in an assisted living facility (not boarding school). Severely Autistic children can be a danger to themselves and other family members. Carmel has two daughters. What is your experience with Autism?

        • Hello Jacqueline,

          To be honest, I have limited experience with Autism. I only have the experience of placing pups with families that have autistic children.

          I can imagine that there is a time or place for people to place their children in an assisted living facility, but my understanding is that Carmel didn’t do it for her daughter’s sake. That’s where I have issues with it. That is just speculation based on my interactions with Carmel and the impression I got from her. I meant no offense to anyone by my comment.

    • Nathan,

      Well done, in many respects. Your daughter is gorgeous, you and your wife are inspiring hope for many and I am grateful to have met you.
      Thank you for your integrity and kindness.

  30. So we received an email from Carmel this morning saying that she if filing bankruptcy, and that no more dogs will be placed. From following this blog, I learned that the remaining puppies in training were placed with Kim Stofer. Is this correct? I looked at her website and contemplated contacting her. We just want to get our dog and find somewhere else to have him trained. Since Carmel if filing bankruptcy, our initial payment of $6250 is just gone. I am so devastated for my child….

    • Hi K. M, as I understand it the dogs have not been “placed” with Kim Stofer, they are being housed there as assets of PSDS. A non-profit cannot dissolve without Attorney General over site. As I understand it the Attorney General distributes assets. All hope is not lost. Contact the Attorney General for more specific information. Good luck.

      • It looks like some of the puppies were given to trainers as compensation for money owed. My understanding is Kim has been given the legal go ahead to place dogs with their families. You might want to contact her to check on your dog.

          • Some families have been in contact with PSDS lawyer and some with Kim to make arrangements. I’m waiting to hear from families once they have a dog in their hands. Until then, I’m skeptical. The situation seems to change every day.

            • We got our dog yesterday from Kim. I suggest if you want your dog call her immediately and she will advise you. You can also call the lawyer listed in the ‘no more dogs’ email. I would do it quickly before Carmel swoops down on her broomstick….

  31. Hi Nathan,

    I’ve just learned that Pawsitive is closed and has filed bankruptsy. We just paid $12,500 in early May and did not receive a dog. Any light you can shed or connections you can help me make is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi B,
      Sorry for the delay in approving your post. Your story is similar to others who have posted here. I sent you an email with some information. Also, many others who have commented here have additional information.
      Nathan

    • I would contact the bankruptcy lawyer handling PSDS’ dissolvement, the one in Carmel’s email. He will advise you fairly.

      • Can anyone provide the bankruptcy attorney information. I have not received an email from Carmel even though I have been in contact with her in the past and she has my $6,250 deposit. Thanks.

  32. I just found out about this situation today. We have paid in full for our dog, who was to be starting advanced training in late August. We are trying to figure out how to get our dog and finish the training on our own.

    What an unbelievable situation. Without seeing a post on Facebook, and then subsequently this blog, I would’ve never even known what was happening! Please send any additional information (attorneys) that you may have.

    Thank you

  33. This blog and group has been therapeutic and definitely helpful. However, it would be nice to have a group who’s goal is to be encouraging and positive for parents who have autism service dogs. Anyone know of a group either on facebook or elsewhere?

  34. My family is also struggling with the consequences of choosing Pawsitive. We raised $14,500 and have been told we will not receive a dog due to bankruptcy. Please send me information regarding the lawsuit. I am very upset as this was not our money but was kindly donated by friends and family and through many difficult fund raisers.

    • Hello A,
      Yes, one of the difficult parts of this whole thing is trying to explain to your friends and family that the people responsible for operating Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions absconded with their money that was meant for your child. I’m sorry to say…welcome to the club. I’ve sent you an email with contact information.
      Nathan

  35. CASE DIS-MISSED! THANK YOU GOD (AND MATT COLEMAN)

    Just found out PSDS’ lawsuit against me has been dismissed. Oh wow! I can finally share the real truth of my experiences and ugly battle with PSDS lasting nearly an entire year, coming to an end today (I pray). I have been fighting non-stop since last August to compel PSDS to perform as contracted. They did not perform, they attacked (you can read details by following link below). In February I filed a complaint w AG and began trying to escape the nightmare. From February to June (and collapse of PSDS), I did everything I possibly could to inform other parents. As a result, PSDS filed suit against me (June 13) for speaking out. An emergency (Ex-Parte) TRO to gag me was attempted first resulting in only 36 hours notice and forcing me to drag Hailey, seizing all the way, to court to oppose this. TRO requested was denied so I kept talking!
    Then this claim seeking substantial monetary damages to PSDS for me sharing my story and reason I was unable to tell the whole truth recently. Well, here is the whole truth, at last!
    Please feel free to ask me anything you’d like. If I can be helpful to any, I am happy to do what I can. Hang in there everyone. Prayers and strength from Hay Hay and me.
    https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=B502E0515502558B!139

    • Hello A,
      Congratulations! I had no doubt your defense would prevail. Matt seemed to be on the ball and knows what he is doing. I’m sure everybody is very excited for you, I know I am!
      On to the next round….

      Nate

  36. Received and Abstract update email with a question from Lynne in regards to the response from the AG. We sent a complaint to the AG back in May, and the only response we received was from Kamala Harris, that they do not review matters involving most legal actions between charities and third parties regarding contracts, and that they do not have the staffing to investigate such matters…makes me wonder if the AG is doing much of anything at all, and all a little too late, pretty sure the AG was made aware of this situation in advance…
    p.s. This is Amy Arroyo, not Joe, we switched computers around at our house:)

  37. Here is my story: 3 weeks ago, I adopted the sweetest and the calmest 7 month old Siberian husky from a couple who didn’t have time for him due to their busy work schedule and renamed him Sawyer. The couple bought him originally from Petland, April this year. Everything was fine until I started noticing that he seemed to have poor judgment on distances. He appears to be clumsy and frequently tripping, bumping into furniture, and stumbling during walks. So Sunday, 9/21/14, I brought him to the vet for an overall health check up. I was told that he has Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts. I immediately brought him to an Eye Specialist the following day 9/22/14. The eye doctor confirmed it and I was devastated. I contacted the original owner and was told he still has a warranty. Petland claims “Warranty– We Stand Behind the Puppies We Sell: Our puppies come with a 14 day warranty covering infectious and contagious diseases and a 1 year warranty covering congenital and hereditary conditions.” I called Petland Henderson NV and they directed me to file a claim to Pawsitive Solutions. I hang up and called Pawsitive Solutions right away. After explaining to the manager named TJ about Sawyer’s condition, HE DENIED his warranty. He bluntly said “UNFORTUNATELY, THERE WILL BE NO WARRANTY BECAUSE YOU ADOPTED HIM.” They are denying poor Sawyer his health warranty because I adopted him. How CRUEL is that? A warranty is a warranty. It’s not wear and tear. They are the worst! They couldn’t care less about the puppies and will find a way to avoid having to deal with their so-called “warranty”.

    • Hi R,
      I’m sorry to hear of your situation. However, I think perhaps the Pawsitive Solutions you are referring to is different from the one written about in this blog. Regardless, all dogs need a caring family to love whether they have health issues or not.
      All the best.
      Nathan

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