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Educate an Open Doors Assistance Dog in Honor of: Karen Smith

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Recently, when my beautiful Service Dog Ginger died unexpectedly, I thought my life would be over soon, too.  However, when I visited 

ECAD and met Service Dog-in-Training Promise, at right,  I knew immediately that with an ECAD successor service dog,  

I’ll be able to gain back by independence and my quality of life.


Meet ECAD Client Karen Smith 

Karen Smith was an athlete her whole life, but when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990, she wasn’t sure how that could continue. After learning to deal with a disabling disease, she found two things that helped her to continue her life, adaptive sports and service dogs. 


Karen went on to become a top ranked US wheelchair tennis player, long distance hand cycle racer, and a top adaptive skier, taking mono and biskis to new levels in the trees and bumps of the big peaks.  At the age of 53, Karen became the starting goalie and co-captain of the US Women’s Sled Hockey team. She continued as the starting goalie for nine years, during which time the team took home the gold medal in the first ever Women’s World Cup.  She is now retired from the team as a player and helping as a goalie coach for the USA Women’s Team. 


Alongside Karen this whole time was her service dog Ginger and her previous service dog Dakota, traveling the world with her to help her through any of the challenges of her disability, so she could focus on her sports.  Karen worked for 40 years in the field of emergency veterinary medicine and in her retirement, she now continues to work in animal rescue in many capacities.  She also enjoys many outdoor activities and sports when her disability allows, and when she has the assistance of a service dog to help her maintain her independence.


Only recently has it become difficult with the sudden passing of Ginger.  However, Karen knows that with an ECAD Service Dog by her side, she’ll regain her active lifestyle.

Thank you for your generous gifts to ECAD in honor of Karen Smith.
Donations are 100% tax-deductible as allowable by law.  If your employer has a Matching Gift program, please complete the form and 
mail it to ECAD, P.O. Box 831, Torrington, CT 06790.