Service dog provider puts Groves family on alert

Service dog provider puts Groves family on alert

A Groves family is taking legal action against the company that sold them a $20,000 service dog after the company, Guardian Angel Service Dogs, itself threatened litigation if the family didn’t turn over all the money it raised from fundraisers almost five months ago.

The McLeod family – Ryan, Tara and their twin sons Racer and Rider – along with a flood of supporters from throughout Southeast Texas, held a number of fundraisers for Racer, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, commonly referred to as juvenile diabetes. The money raised went toward the purchase of a diabetic alert dog. Through scent detection, he can sense – when properly trained – when a person’s blood sugar level rises or falls to dangerous levels. Money was also raised to go toward ongoing medical care for Racer.

The McLeods are plaintiffs in a declaratory judgment filed last week in the 58th Judicial District in Jefferson County asking to sever ties with Guardian Angel Service Dogs after they received a dog that wasn’t completely trained and still isn’t 100 percent capable of warning the family if Racer has blood sugar that’s too high or too low.

While the training is part of the issue, Dan Warren, president of Warren Enterprises LLC, which also owns Guardian Angels Service Dogs Inc., a not-for-profit company out of Montpelier, Va., is demanding that the extra money made by the McLeods’ fundraising efforts go to him. In addition to Guardian Angels, Warren also owns Warren Retrievers, a company that breeds Labrador retrievers, which he also uses as the Guardian Angel service dogs.

Guardian Angels was registered with Guidestar.org, which tracks nonprofit organizations; however, they did not supply the site with any IRS information, including a 990, which is to provide the public with financial information to ensure it is not abusing its tax-exempt status.

In a letter from Warren’s attorney, John W. Anderson, dated June 5 of this year, he states that the McLeods received “well in excess of $60,000 in charitable donations from fundraising activities” and that because the McLeods promoted the event “as being tax deductible to the donors and for the benefit of Guardian Angel,” Warren and his company are entitled to the excess money raised by the McLeods.

Messages left for both Warren and his attorney, Anderson, were not returned.

Matthew Morgan of the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm is assisting attorney John Werner in the matter for the McLeods pro bono and said the McLeods fulfilled their monetary obligation with Warren and his company by paying the $20,000 for the dog and that any additional money raised is being used for Racer’s ongoing medical care.

The McLeods’ petition to the court states that the McLeods held several fundraisers and “through the generosity and caring of the community, including many people who had never even met Racer, enough money was raised not only to pay the Defendant (Warren), but also to set up a separate account devoted exclusively to Racer’s ongoing medical needs.”

The McLeods are seeking a declaration that they not be required to pay more than the $20,000 already paid for the dog and that Warren is not entitled to any money in Racer’s separate account.

McLeod argues that while they did use the Guardian Angel name when promoting the event – which Warren said they could do – there was never any mention made about excess funds going back to Guardian Angel Service Dogs and that Warren offered to help with fundraising along the way. McLeod also said the family never used Guardian Angels’ tax ID number.

“They don’t owe them money,” said Morgan. “The McLeods paid the $20,000 for the dog. (Guardian Angel) owes them some training, but we’ve offered to cut that off and go our separate ways, but they won’t.”

A dog that doesn’t alert

“We were told we’d be able to sleep through the night and if the dog noticed Racer’s blood sugar change, he’d come and alert us,” said Ryan McLeod, a Beaumont firefighter who is perplexed and frustrated with the whole situation. “My wife and I would’ve never gone with this company if we’d known we were going to have to train the dog ourselves.”

Guardian Angel provides one week of training when the dog is delivered and two days of training every 90 days for the next two years as part of the agreement. All other required training is to be done by the owner.The McLeods’ twin sons are 3 1/2 years old. Racer, in addition to diabetes, also suffers from albinism, which according to his father, is very rare considering neither he nor his wife have the gene for albinism. It’s the albinism that causes Racer’s pale skin, cloud-white hair and reddish eyes. There’s no medical proof that it’s a bi-product of his diabetes.

Late in November 2011 after a near fatal incident with Racer, the family began researching service dog companies and diabetic alert dog providers and Warren’s Guardian Angel Service Dog page was one of the first companies to pop up.

“Our main concern was at night,” said McLeod. “One night we checked him, he was perfectly normal to make it through to the morning, and 45 minutes later he was having a seizure.” Fortunately, Racer was sleeping with Tara that night and she felt him having the seizure. Had he not been sleeping with his mother that night and in his own bed instead, he could have died.

McLeod said most of the diabetic alert dog companies require the buyer to travel to the company to pick the dog up, whereas Guardian Angel actually flies out and delivers the dog to the customer.

“I talked to him on the phone, and he had me crying on the phone talking to him,” McLeod said of his initial conversation with Warren.

“He also told us the dog would be trained to alert when we received him,” said McLeod, adding that most service dogs go through one to two years of training before they’re given to a family. Gunner, the chocolate Labrador retriever the McLeod’s received, was 3 months old when he was delivered. “Obedience-wise, we haven’t had any issues,” said McLeod. “As far as being out in public, he listens and he does what he’s supposed to.”

McLeod said Warren assured him the dog would be trained to “alert,” meaning the dog would be able to notify Ryan and Tara if the dog, through scent detection training, noticed Racer’s blood sugar was too high or low. Ultimately, the dog is supposed to “paw” a person when Racer’s blood sugar is too high and “touch” with his nose if the blood sugar is too low.

At 5 months old, Gunner, while a good dog, is still learning how to detect, and can’t yet indicate high or low blood sugar. When Gunner was dropped off in May, the trainers that accompanied the dog indicated that the McLeods would be responsible for training the dog on how to “alert.”

“We said, ‘Wait a minute, the whole reason we got this dog was because it knows how to alert,’” said McLeod. “We told (Warren) my wife and I both have jobs, and between the two boys, we have very busy and hectic lives, and we don’t have time to train a dog.”

Maria Ikenberry, executive director for Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws, a service dog company out of Carrboro, N.C., said she’s never dealt with anyone from Guardian Angel and has only heard of the company. A relatively new company, Ikenberry said Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws has trained three diabetic alert dogs, and they took up to two years to train. She said her company has eight dogs it’s training right now and prefers training their dogs on-site as opposed to having the dogs trained with the owners.

“If you talk to Assistance Dogs International, you’ll find that that is not the standard for assistance dogs,” said Ikenberry. “What you’ll also find is there’s no standard for diabetic assistance dogs, either.”Bonnie Bergin, a pioneer in the service dog industry who actually came up with the idea of service dogs for people in wheelchairs 37 years ago, said it is preferred by most service dog agencies who are members of Assistance Dogs International that dogs be trained for up to two years by certified professional trainers as opposed to having a dog trained by a family with occasional training visits.

“I don’t see how parents as described, with the small amount of instruction, can do an adequate job training the dog,” said Bergin, who runs the Bergin University of Canine Studies, just outside of Santa Rosa, Calif.

Spreading the word electronically

Late Wednesday afternoon, a Facebook post was put on the Guardian Angel Service Dogs page by Warren letting all the members of the group know that “publicity was forthcoming” regarding the McLeods’ legal action against the company, which “may or may not be true,” according to the post. Warren indicated that a reporter from The Examiner might be in touch with Guardian Angel’s clientele, and if so, it was their discretion to speak with the media, but he was confident anyone who spoke would be “honest and forthcoming in your remarks about Guardian Angel Service Dogs. You, our friends that we have served, are our best line of defense against falsehoods. Thank you for your support.”

One of those customers who came to the defense of Warren and Guardian Angel was Jamie Shasteen, whose daughter Alissa suffers from Type 1 diabetes and is expected to get her dog in the fall. While the family, which lives in Illinois, is still raising funds for the dog, she said it’s a “moral” issue and “common sense” that any excess funds raised by a family working with Guardian Angel be given to the company since it’s being raised for Guardian Angel and using the Guardian Angel name.

“The McLeod family fundraised using Guardian Angel Service Dog’s name,” said Shasteen. “They exceeded what they needed to pay for the dog, and it’s common sense when you go over, that money goes back. They’re just mad that they fundraised using that name and that tax ID number and they were told they couldn’t keep the money after they kept the money.”

Shasteen said that Warren made it very clear “from the beginning” that excess funds raised by families would be put back in a fund that would go to other families in the same state looking for diabetic alert dogs. She also harped on the McLeods for their lack of “research” since the company clearly indicates training is done primarily by the family and not done prior to the dog’s arrival.

“They should’ve known that before they got the dog,” said Shasteen.

While her arguments certainly support Guardian Angel’s contentions, Shasteen was a little shaky when it came to details regarding the information that “clearly” states the fundraising and training protocol.

“That’s stuff that you find out when you start with this company,” said Shasteen. “You can ask Dan yourself.” She said she’s known about the company for more than a year, but has been working with them for “about five months.” When pressed further about where the protocol is listed, Shasteen continued, “I don’t know if (Dan) specifically told me that, but it’s common sense. It’s common sense to anybody with common sense.”McLeod said neither he nor his wife was ever briefed or informed on the fundraising and training protocol from Warren. A glimpse at Warren’s Web site warrenretrievers.com mentions how he offers help fundraising for clients buying a dog through Guardian Angels, yet provides no insight as to what is done with excess funds.

“He’s great working with you throughout the fundraising process leading up to buying the dog,” said McLeod, “but once he gets paid, it’s impossible to get in touch with him and he passes off everything on to his trainers. If I’d known we were going to go through all this, we’d have never chosen this company.”

Fred Davis can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 227, or by e-mail at fred [at] theexaminer [dot] com.

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Comments

Mr.Huebel, any other opinions

Mr.Huebel, any other opinions on this difference of opinion on the laws and intentions, etc.? This is a forum of the Examiner to discuss the news stories that they report, correct?

You are correct in that this

You are correct in that this is a forum to discuss this story. What I find interesting is the amount of people who are dragging people through the mud while they sit comfortably behind a keyboard using cowardly masks of "anonymous" and "me".

dragging them thru the mud? I

dragging them thru the mud? I am just looking at the "mud" that has been reported on that they decided to jump into themselves. If you dont like anonymous, take it up with the Examiner's website developer and have them remove the option thet we have a right to use. You are not a coward Kevin, but I havent seen you state your opinions on the matter only your unhappiness with anonymouses.So tell us a little about yourself and help us to understand so we can be enlightened with your brave stance. Sit comfortably behind a keyboard? where is your keyboard?so what do you think about these donation dollars where should they go and why?

If you actually read the

If you actually read the comments of others instead of being so absorbed and defensive of your own comments, you would see where I had a very lengthy post earlier. Yes, the examiner gives you the option of anonymity, but unless you are cowardly or have something to hide, why not give your true name? Unless you are involved / named in this lawsuit, yours is only an opinion, as is mine. If you don't agree with mine, fine. I never said anything about your opinion, just that you weren't brave enough to voice it with your true identity. As far as going back and forth with you, anonymous, I am done. So I say good day to you.....sir, ma'am, or whatever you are.

Puppy Mill!

I see many comments on how all these families received a dog just last week or last month. I read an article that stated that GASD sends out 300-500 puppies per year. That puts them in status of a puppy mill. Grinding out little labrador puppies to sell to clueless families who want to do the best for their child but have not done the research. Then they drink the GASD Koolaid and it's all over!

How long till we see puppies coming out with congenital birth defects from over breeding. GASD also claims to have a 100% success rating. Not even Guide Dogs for Blind who has been around for decades claims that. Why? Because they don't pump out puppies for money and they pull dogs from the program when the dog shows signs of not being able to hack it as a service dog. Because they have experience and common sense. And they don't do it to make money off of disabled people!

These GASD people are like a

These GASD people are like a cult. Refuse to listen to anyone but their one leader despite mounting evidence. Koolaid anyone?

Warren flavored koolaid!

Many of us agree with you Carrie. There are a lot of people people drinking the Warren koolaid when they really need a big glass of reality.

you think that the McLeods

you think that the McLeods and Daigle dont have their own concoction?

Carrie McMahan, Why would you

Carrie McMahan, Why would you say something like that? That's very hurtful and ugly.

Because the shoe fits.

Because the shoe fits. Nothing any of your people has said is hurtful...now is it? Go lecture your people.

I'm not in a Cult :) I love

I'm not in a Cult :) I love everybody!

Matt...when I wrote that I

Matt...when I wrote that I even looked at my husband and said...except that guy Matt.

lol...just giving you a hard

lol...just giving you a hard time.

Oh I earned it. :)

Oh I earned it. :)

GASD = CULT: yes!

Ha! I was just thinking that they are like a cult with how they have marketed themselves and brainwashed so many people into believing buying their "snakeoil" will save them.

Carrie m- you are so very much on target.

people support Breast Cancer

people support Breast Cancer Events and I have never heard the term brainwash. The ones that are keeping the donations may be using "carsalesmen" tactics to brainwash everyone into thinking that they were totally ignorantly innocent.

Defending GASD

I have a GASD DAD who is over a year old, I got her at 11 weeks and have had no issues with her alerting. She has alerted day and night to highs and lows since she was delivered to me at 11 weeks old. I was told by GASD and was very aware that she was not a fully trained DAD, that she was a puppy, and chose to go this route for the bonding of her and my child. I did not want a full grown dog whom I do not know in my home with my child. I am a single Mom, so my fundraising is spread out, but I have also received donations and have been able to benefit from other families through GASD. I was made fully aware from GASD that all money from fundraising under GASD belongs to GASD to help benefit other families. This has never been a question or a secret. Mr Warren has always been very upfront and honest. This organization is wonderful and has one thing at heart and in mind...to help others. That is their only mission. I have been more than blessed by going through GASD and would do it again without thinking twice.
I am sorry this family and many others have medical bills over their heads and children with special medical needs. They are in my thoughts and prayers, but I hope they do the right thing and turn over the money to the organization in which they fundraised under.

Racer's Diabeticalertdog-

Racer's Diabeticalertdog- here is a FB page where some commented on how they were impressed with this dog.
Also it states "Racer's Gaurdian Angel Fundraiser".. which seems to me they raised money for them.
read for yourself

solution!....if the

solution!....if the organization would be willing to replace the faulty product with a better trained dog, and the firefighter would hand over the rest of the cash that is so hard to let go of, i believe problem would be solved. If everyone could use this org. 's name to raise money to help take care of their own families and unfortunate experiences that we all encounter, I quess everyone would be having Gaurdian Angel .. benefits to make $40,000 ..just print a few Tshirts and do the advertising and then you will have thousands of dollars in the bank for your family too....now that's a scam

I think maybe the author of

I think maybe the author of this article should have done some research and perhaps asked to review the contract this family signed with GASD before writing such a slanted inaccurate article. His inaccuracies have caused allot of hate here. His article should be retracted and someone who is actually qualified should do an article that represents all of the facts. At least the full article is now available which unfortunately is still full of inaccuracies. As with all of my other posts here I am taking no side on this. I just think it's unfortunate that a journalist who has a responsibility to his readers to present the facts of a story has been allowed to post an opinion piece as fact. Shame on him and shame on this newspaper for allowing it. This is the problem with our media today. It's all opinion and very little fact.

Inaccurate articles?

If you want inaccurate articles, you should read some that are praising GASD dogs. Families thinking the dog will alert from 5 miles away, thinking that their 4 month old puppy will attend school with the child, being told that a 7 month old puppy is covered under the ADA. You want links to articles, I've got them. But on most of them, Dan Warren had the comments removed because he doesn't put up with negativity. If he REALLY wanted to make his program better, he'd take the bad with the good and use it to improve his program.

What is your point? Did I

What is your point? Did I defend Dan Warren in my post? To save you the trouble of reading it again....no I didn't. I simply said this article is not factual. It leaves out an immense amount of information and in some cases provides misinformation. My post takes no side as you have so blatantly done. This article due to it's lack of thoroughness has made a charitable community who obviously cares greatly for Racer think that a charitable organization is trying to steal money from him. It has also caused supporters of the other side feel they need to defend a cause they believe in and has from many testimonials done good work. I don't think either side is wrong or right. I think that had this article been properly written and proper facts presented, as should be the case in a news article, that the outcome would be completely different. Did GASD do something wrong...don't know. Did Racers family do something wrong....don't know. The only fact here is that it is a poorly investigated report full of inaccuracies that truly does neither party reported any justice. If you cannot see that one simple fact then i am sorry. Until there is factual reporting and evidence presented that says GASD is wrong for requesting those funds or that Racers' family is in the wrong for keeping it then I cast no stones in either direction. Unfortunately it seems that the vast majority of people like to jump to conclusions either way and attack one party or the other. This is truly unfortunate. I understand the desire to support your own...but as I said in my other post, how many times have you heard "I can't believe he/she did that...they are such a good man/woman!"? Until I see all of the evidence I will not cast judgement....and since that evidence will be presented to a judge as it should be and not this court of public opinion we will have to trust in our justice system that the right thing will be done in the end, and only hope that none of the children, of which we should all be supporting, are hurt in the process. I think everyone should take a deep breath and truly look into your heart at what really matters most, and I promise you it is not at casting stones back and forth at each other. This reporter should also take a deep breath and look at the negativity he has caused and the dark cloud he has cast over a great number of well intentioned good hearted people on both sides of this debate by misrepresenting all of the facts. I could only hope that he would have the moral character to go back and investigate this story thoroughly and present all of the facts and only the facts. This probably will not happen because newspapers thrive on attention, it's how they make their money. Unfortunately he has done more damage than good.

if the organization is not a

if the organization is not a good one, that is one thing. That does not justify these people, the parents, the Mcleods, to theft of donation money from any organization. They pretend they have reasons to justify that theft is acceptable for them in this case.. if the org. needs improvement does not justify them to steal from them

Are you kidding me?

I just read this on the Examiner home page.

"While we harbor no disrespect for the Wall Street Journal who called us “that scrappy little paper from Southeast Texas,” we prefer to think of ourselves as simple seekers of the truth. We’re of the opinion that headlines and sound bites never tell the whole story. Our readers demand all the facts, facets and flavors of every story or event. And, they expect to be informed, educated and stirred to action."

Again....shame on you.

Offended by the Albinism comments.......

First off, let me state that I donated time and money to Racer's benefit. I have no problem with the family keeping ANY money that they raised over the amount that was raised for the dog. The issue I DO have is how Racer's ( and children with Albinism in general ) are being portrayed. I too have a child with Albinism ( and Autism ). The article states that Racer "suffers" from Albinism. You don't suffer from Albinism. Albinism is a condition, not a disease. White hair and pale skin? Yes. It is from a lack of pigment. Red eyes? No. Most people with Albinism have blue / hazel eyes. The redness you see in their eyes at times is due also due to lack of pigment in their eyes. It makes them translucent when the light is just right. ( which also requires them to wear sunglasses a lot due to sensitivity from the sun ). The article also states that neither parent carries the gene for Autism. this is also incorrect. BOTH parents must carry the gene for a child to be born with Albinism. Last but certainly not least......to the comment of Racer not being as perfect as his brother.....How dare a member of his own family not only think this, but put it in writing for the world to see ( including Racer himself ) Having Diabetes ( or Albinism ) DOES NOT make a child any less perfect than the next. I apologize for the soapbox, but this was really getting under my skin.....thanks.

Racer

If you are referring to my comments, I apologize if I offended you or anyone else. I did not mean that Racer is not normal because of albinism or diabetes. I only meant that these children carry burdens that other children without diabetes do not. Of course Racer is as perfect as his little brother and we will all make sure these two little guys have everything they need and grow up to be healthy, happy young men.

Thank you for posting that.

Thank you for posting that. Both of my children are perfect in my eyes--the healthy one and the one with 3 diseases and a condition. I will fight anyone who says otherwise. :)

Albinism gene.....

* the gene I spoke of was referring to Albinism (not Autism) ...... My bad.

I understand

I currently have a GASD and I also currently have a very ill child. I understand both sides of this. We are raising money to pay for our GASD--who has already greatly improved my son's health. I know that the people who give are supporting my son. They don't know the agency, they know and see my little boy. We are no where near the final payment for our dog, but I am fully aware of the laws (GASD made sure we knew) so I know when we get to that point, we need to either stop fundraising, pay it forward, or change the title of our events. I think it's pretty cool that Racer's family received such awesome support from their community. I believe that the community was supporting Racer. Perhaps the family didn't understand the laws. This is an unfortante situation. GASD needs to protect themselves as well. Just like so many other things in America, it's about the law. They could lose their tax exempt status if money is improperly raised and that could hurt many families (including mine). I know anger has gotten involved in this. I hope they can figure it out so that everyone is happy--but it appears it may be too late for that.
By the way, when we decided on GASD, we knew taking in a pup rather than a full grown dog would be a challenge, especially since we both work as well, but after a month of research into many agencies, we decided this was the best choice for us--the bonding outweighed the extra work.
Best of luck to the McLeod family. Please don't punish other families who are struggling to help thier sick children in the process though.

I am that family......

Hi all, Let me introduce myself my name is Jovana Flores I live at 2457 Lawanna Dr Orlando FL 32807. I can be reached at 407-803-1238. I am married and I have four children Alex my T1, Joshua my asthmatic and he also has ADHD, Jiana my princess and Jojo is the runt of the litter . I believe I have given everyone enough information to know that I am not a fictitious character or better yet a "minion". I am a GASD family that has and is still benefiting from the help of others fundraising efforts and generosity. Lotus was delivered and I had only had $1550 raised.My trainer and I went over the very detailed contract and I had 3 days to look it over and make sure I fully understood what was said in the contract before I signed it. If I would have read anything that wasn't already clearly stated or that I did not agree to, I would not have signed the contract and Lotus would have been sent back right GASD.At the time I was working full time and not having fund-raised for anything ever, I was not very good at it. When Lotus arrived I took a week off work to get good grasp on training techniques and acquaint myself to life with a service dog in training. With in the first few days it became clear to me that I would need to dedicate more time to fundraising and making sure I did everything in my power to make this work. When I say make this work, I am referring to juggling my responsibilities and commitments as a wife, mother, student, employee, service dog in training handler, and fundraiser. After intense discussions with my husband and family, the decision was made for me to resign from my position at my place of employment. On the day I gave my resignation and 2 weeks notice, I was approached by the CEO of the company. He wanted me to clarify why my reasons were for leaving. After I restated what was clearly spelled out in my email, he stated" I just wanted to make sure I had read that right". He then offered me an incentive package to stay. In lieu of a raise and in exchange for my promise to stay in my position with the company for the next two years, they would pledge quarterly payments over two years too total $12,548. Talk about relief, he even agreed that Lotus should come to work with me daily to work on obedience and public access. I was overjoyed and extremely grateful. Things went well and Lotus was the company mascot. I was able to juggle all my responsibilities and everything was falling into place...that was until the balls all came crashing down. Alex became very ill, and now required me to be home full time to get him healthy again. I was granted an FMLA, but this meant I was not holding up my end of the deal. No more payments on Lotus would be made until I returned to work. At this point only one payment had been made by my company and the one big event I thought would generate a good amount of donations ended up putting me deeper in debt. So this means that the monies in my account had to cover the travel cost for her initial delivery, and her upcoming 90 day evaluation. It doesn't take a mathematician to clearly see I was in the negative. So what happens now I thought? Was I in trouble, was my amazing dog going to be repossessed , would my son's heart be broken and his hopes crushed by losing his girl. Simply put no, my trainer came out as scheduled for my 90 day visit, my weekly phone calls and emails continued to be answered and my GASD family supported me more. Lotus is the first GASD placed in Central Florida, so with no other families who have fund-raised locally before me I can only wonder who is funding Lotus? Who has paid for our 90 day evaluation? Who is paying for our next upcoming visit. Why does Dan and the trainers continue to answer my questions and lend me support. Why do they go the extra mile to call me when I have had a hard day with training, discouraged with fundraising or to forewarn me of possible situations that may cause more harm then good to Lotus ex; fireworks show on the beach. The biggest question I have is why has Dan not once mentioned one word of this to me. Why on our numerous times of speaking had he not pointed out that I am way behind on my fundraising goals and there was not enough in my account for a trainer to fly out and conduct our 90 day visit. I will tell you why because of the hard work and generosity of others. Because someone reached their fundraising goal and decided to continue fundraising for other families in need. Because no matter how difficult, or bleak the situation may look, I will not abandoned. GASD will not cut bait unlike other organizations who require all monies up front. I was not good enough for these other organizations. The reasons for rejection was for lack of money up front, my son's age or the fact that we would have to wait 2-5yrs to get matched with a dog. I am not worth much (money wise at least), the house we call a home is in foreclosure and my beacon score needs a major renovation. With GASD none of this matters, Dan knows the power of hope and he has yet to give up hope on me. Since Lotus's delivery in February, 5 more Central Florida families have decided to get their D.A.D's through GASD. With the new found help and support from these families we have been able to plan several big event fund raisers. So where once stood one now stand 6, I have lived side by side in the same community facing the same diagnosis and yet would have never known them had it not been for Lotus. The only reason I lay myself bare and open up my situation to complete and total strangers is to reveal the truth. I have my never ceases to amaze me Lotus and I have been able to watch her grow and take shape under my guided hand. I have been blessed to have her bonding with my son, he is her boy and the only one she has bonded with. I was not denied this because of lack of funds, Alex's age or a variable wait list . I was never sold a dream or false hope I knew what was expected of me and what I could expect. It was clear and concise. I did not want to pick out my own dog and hope it passed temperament testing. I did not want to have a two year old dog placed in my home, to me that was two years out of the dogs working life span that could have been spent training in my home and bonding with my son. I did not want to wait not one more minute for my dog let alone up to 5 years. The choice came easy and is the best one I have ever made, I chose GASD. I do hope that a resolution is reached regarding the McLeod's and GASD. I can speak for self when I say there was and is a clear understanding regarding the use of monies raised for Lotus and any excess funds. If their were no clarity to this expectation, what stops other families from using excess funds to pay for their life necessities. I can come up with a hundred reasons why I should be allowed to to keep monies raised up and beyond my goal. I am in foreclosure and we need to move, the van needs A.C., and the list goes on...but as much as I would like to justify my reasoning, I would still be wrong. I know with posting my comment, I have opened myself up to the hateful and malicious comments I have read throughout this thread. Everything from my grammar usage to the fact that Lotus is not a fully trained service dog will be attacked and that's fine. This is my story and my experience as a member of GASD and nothing anyone says can change that fact.

Living Proof!!

Jovana truthfully and well put. We are blessed to take this journey with you and are forever grateful for Lotus. She has demonstrated the abilities of Warren Retrievers since the moment we met her. She continues to amaze our family every time we get together and we already learned "trust the dog". Thank you for your faithfulness and for opening your heart, family and D.A.D. for the benefit of our daughter. We anxiously are awaiting the arrival of Skye's D.A.D. and will continue to stand together with all of our Central Florida families!

The importance of a faithful and loyal heart

Tanya H,

You, and the other Central Florida families have been such a true blessing for me and my family. I will always stand by you all faithfully and remain loyal. Every family that has been with me on this journey can attest to the openness and honesty I share regarding GASD. I have invited you all into my day to day life and training with Lotus. I have shared my ups and my downs, my challenges and times of success. Most of you have seen Lotus grow in maturity and ability, since her time of delivery. Going from the 12 week old sweet puppy to the awesome teenager she is today. She has alerted to most of your children and you all have been able to share your own fears and concerns. We have something special here and that cannot be bought. My loyalty to GASD and fellow family members will never fail or falter.

I feel for any family that is

I feel for any family that is currently being scammed by Warren Retrievers/Guardian Angel Service Dogs. They are overpaying for a dog that is not even guaranteed to work out.

Did you know that temperament tests at 7 weeks are not incredibly accurate at predicting adult temperament? Did you know that it takes approximately 2 years to train a service dog from puppy hood and of those that enter training, less than half actually graduate to become service dogs?

So what happens when your puppy, which is too young to leave it's mother let alone be responsible for some else's life, begins to develop behavior that will prevent it from working at 6 months old or isn't at the accuracy they promise? Do they give you another puppy or are you raising $20,000 for a puppy regardless of whether or not they actually can succeed?

Children's Miracle Network paid $3,000 for my dog and he's already an adult. He's fully trained and I was not responsible for any costs for his care during his training period. I don't have to worry about him washing out, the program has carefully evaluated him to make sure he is appropriate to work in public.

It may cost a program like Canine Companions for Independence or Guiding Eyes for the Blind $20,000 over the course of their 2 year training period to care and train for a dog. I do not believe for a second that GASD incurs such a cost, considering the puppy is living with the family and other than occasional visits by a trainer, it is the family's job to keep up the training to ensure successful graduation of the dog.

GASD is overcharging and making a huge profit on the dogs. I would love to see how much they actually put into their program as far as costs go and how much each staff person is paid.

I doubt Mr. Warren is in this for helping families, if he was he'd realize how ridiculous his prices and promises are.

Is there a single Warren Retriever/GASD family that actually has an adult dog from him that is still working? So far it's all people with puppies, kind of fishy to me.

I have a huge problem with people that take advantage of parents of children with disabilities. That is exactly what Mr.Warren is doing.

who's scamming who? medical

who's scamming who?
medical needs for the sick child?-
the community did help this family and they want to keep the profits to that Org. for the sick child. Instead of selling their expensive vehicles, they want to keep those of course and just get the community to pay their sons medical needs. Perhaps the sale of a fancy car could pay a bill for their sick child also. Has that organizations helped family's? like the McLeods? who are the McLeods helping? themselves? who is scamming who?

I'm Sorry Do YOU KNOW ME

This is a comment that is crazy, Anonymous much like you. If you know me I sold my " Expensive Car " "Dream Car" that i wanted since I was 15 yr. old when Racer was diagnosed. I then bought a car that was cheaper , then when all of this happened I then bought a truck that was cheaper. My wife drives a ford explorer with many safety features....this is an expensive car ????????????
Anonymous , again what should I drive , maybe a car with no airbags or no seatbelts??? The community and friends came together they made the fundraiser happen for the love of a boy named RACER!

so sorry for your

so sorry for your hardship,especially where children are involved. It is so hard...but you really need to probably give the money for whom it was raised for which was a benefit for GAMSD given by Racer is how it isseems to have been portrayed. You may be entitled to all of the money that was raised...but it looks like a judge can figure this out pretty easily. And if the dog is defective, the bright side is that you are fortunate to now have the money to replace it now.PS- I am not anonymous from previous post, i drive a cheap car too. good luck with the blind lady named Justice

You said it!

Yo go Karla! Nailed it right on the head. Oh, and now Warren Retrievers claims to be placing 300-500 puppies every year. Hello puppy mill!

I donated to support Racer and his family

I was late to the benefit and when I arrived I asked how all was going and heard that they had already reached their goal, great news. I still donated, I know that the benefit was for more than just the guardian dog there have been many medical expenses with many more to come and I had no problem making a donation even after the goal had been met. However, I probably would not have donated knowing that any extra money would not benefit the McLeod's. I donated my money to the McLeod's not Guardian Angels Service Dogs Inc.

I am curious how you can sit

I am curious how you can sit here and say you knew the money was for medical bills when during this big fundraising event they never once announced that this was going for medical bills. I know for a fact that they fundraised specifically for the dog only. As a matter of fact, in the article they even admit to fundraising for the dog only. It wasn't until after all the money was made and the event was said and done that they decided they should keep the extra funds. So why suddenly does everyone in this town say, well we were fundraising for his medical bills. BS

If you do not live in this

If you do not live in this area then you didn't attend the fundraiser so there is no way you can know anything "for a fact". I was there and do know for a fact that the fundraiser was for Racer. In fact I helped put out the banner we put at the road an 8'x10' banner reading "RACER'S FUNDRAISER" and that was all. There is no misunderstanding on what this town raised money for Racer.

even if someone did not

even if someone did not attend or does not even live in this town, there are ways to know some facts. The internet shares information, such as news articles, social network postings,videos, etc. You state that "there is no misunderstanding" there is a misunderstanding Roxanne that is why they have to involve the courts.

FB-- Racer's Gaurdian Angel

FB-- Racer's Gaurdian Angel Fundraiser page

statements show it was for " a service" dog. If tshirts were sold for the event, were those moneies donated also or a profit for the Tshirt maker off of Racer's event and advertising??

HELLO ANONYMOUS you have been on here alot lately

I would like you to sleep tonight knowing that I designed,printed,and paid for the shirts out of my own pocket.

a small investment out of

a small investment out of your pocket to make $40,ooo? Good business decision it may look like to some. I was just reading the examiner and just got intrigued by the story.Please dont be offended by inquiries..looks like a lot of anonymous's are reading the Examiner.I would have never even known about this issue. I will probably sleep tonight thinking of other kids in Racers situation who need help too. I will pray they recieve the help as your family did minus the controversy.

if you want to infer to "Good

if you want to infer to "Good business decisions" how much does GASD pay Warren Retrivers for each dog?

are you saying that because

are you saying that because you think now, at this time in which they do not want to lose the profits, that Mr. Warren is a crook? is that the reason they feel that is acceptable to withhold the money from GAMSD? At what point did they decide he was a crook? After GAMSD asked for the money and legal proceedings? Things were pretty quite as long as the money was in the mcleods account.

Melinda

How do you know what was spoken of or what was not spoken at this event? Were you there?

no-it's online. Racers

no-it's online. Racers grandmother is asked a few times about what they were raising $ for and the answer on more than one occasion was: Kerry Mcleod- "I sure will let you know when we get details. And yes, the money will be for the dog. He will cost 18,000.00. The insurance doesn't cover any of it." copy and pasted.

articles, internet articles,

articles, internet articles, Tshirts, advertising, News channel reports on the success of the fund raiser for guardian Angel Med. Service alert dogs, etc. Dont know about the law but I have heard that taking money donated to an organization might be some kind of crime. It just reads like Racer gave a benefit for GAMSD and his parent want the money along with the dog. I am sure the lawyers will have access to more..

show me these articals I've

show me these articals I've posted many and they all talk about Racer needing a DAD