North Star News

North Star Foundation

My name is Patty Dobbs Gross, and I serve as Executive Director of North Star Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children who face social, emotional and educational challenges to reach their goals with the help of well bred and well socialized assistance dogs. We have been incorporated for a decade and we now have over 100 successful autism assistance dog placements for children in progress around the country!

North Star's Phoenix with solider's at Ft. Lewis, Washington
North Star's Phoenix with solider's at Ft. Lewis, WA

In addition, our veteran program in Washington state uses North Star dogs to work with veterans to provide comfort and companionship to our returning soldiers; we are now working on our third canine partnership, and hope to create ten veteran placements in this coming year...

We have a unique philosophy for creating North Star placements with children who face challenges, and our placements have been studied and found to be both safe as well as effective in meeting their children's needs; here is some research about this emerging field that holds so much promise, a link to a recent study conducted in Canada. (The findings are published in the September issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology)

In case you missed it, here is the episode of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee that recently aired which featured two of our North Star dogs. Play Video

And here's a short film my son, Danny, who is on the autism spectrum and currently a graduate student at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, produced about a North Star placement in Redlands, CA, between a boy with autism named Joel and his North Star dog, Hero. Play Video

Danny himself grew up with an autism assistance dog, Madison, which we acquired from Canine Companions for Independence over 20 years ago. Although I do not give Madison the lion's share of credit for Danny's good development (this nod going to appropriate education, including my own), I do give Madison much of the credit for helping Danny to grow into the emotionally balanced and socially confident young man he is today.

I have written a book about raising Danny in autism's dark ages as well as founding North Star as our family came out of the shadows titled THE GOLDEN BRIDGE: A GUIDE TO ASSISTANCE DOGS FOR CHILDREN CHALLENGED BY AUTISM OR OTHER DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES (Purdue University Press, July 2006); it is my hope that this book will help you to understand North Star's unique philosophy of placement. It can be ordered directly from the publisher or, best price, from (All of my personal proceeds from writing THE GOLDEN BRIDGE go toward supporting our North Star placements.)

North Star babies!

We were recently blessed with the two lovely golden litters of North Star puppies; these lovely pups are bred specifically for soundness as well as temperaments conducive to working with children with autism. North Star currently has a dozen children on our waiting list, and we'd like to place as many of these awesome puppies as we can with North Star children to reduce the amount of time they must spend waiting. We raise at least half of all funds necessary for all the families we serve at North Star, and you can see this is quite a task for us to meet this commitment.

We have two DVDs that document our work with North Star's children, "Home Before Dark" and "Raising Your North Star," that I am happy to send to you to thank you for any size donation made to North Star Foundation to support our work in progress with children who face challenges. Please send me your mailing address along with your electronic donation (a secure Pay Pal feature is available on our website at in order to receive these can also mail a check made out to North Star Foundation to my attention to the address below my signature; these donations are considered tax deductible, as we are a recognized nonprofit (EIN 06-1589586), and they are also greatly appreciated.

I thank you in advance for any help you can offer the children we serve at North Star, and please accept my heartfelt wishes to you and your family for a happy and joyous new year...

Sincerely yours,

Patty Dobbs Gross
Executive Director
North Star Foundation
20 Deerfield Lane
Storrs, CT 06268
"We help children find their way."

Please help support the North Star Foundation and donate now!