By Susan Stone

This year, the Pawling Rotary Chocolate Festival will feature pups from BluePath Service Dogs, from Hopewell Junction, New York, who provide specially trained dogs to children with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  With Pawling Rotary’s mission of supporting children, highlighting this not-for-profit is a perfect fit to a sweet day of celebration!

Along with our friends at Pawling’s American Legion, (see our article about all that our local chapter  does for Pawling’s kids in this week’s publication) who will be honored at this year’s event, BluePath Service Dogs offer a unique service to families struggling to provide safety and well being to their children suffering with this debilitating developmental disorder.

According to BluePath’s excellent brochure, “A large number of children with autism demonstrate a propensity to “bolt,” or wander away from their families, which poses a significant threat to their well-being and can make trips outside the home feel extremely frightening. BluePath dogs significantly lessen parents’ safety concerns and help children to lead fuller lives. Reduced stress, improved sleeping routines, and more meaningful social interactions can allow families to feel a renewed sense of hope and empowerment. Our exceptional dogs go through years of specialized training.  It takes a loving and dedicated community to prepare our dogs for their lives of service. Our volunteers, donors, clients, and staff are passionate about this program and understand the exponential impact our dogs have on the world. These special dogs facilitate intimate connections; we work as a team with a shared goal of transforming lives — one dog and one child at a time.”

BluePath pups will be available for cooing over at this year’s Chocolate Festival from 11 a.m to 4 p..m. You will find them in the foyer of the Lathrop Center on November 11th so be sure to stop by and enjoy.  The fine folks from BluePath will be available to answer any questions about what they do and how they do it!  Information about this amazing organization is available on their web site at:

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