Hello! My name is Courtney Bliesath. I am a senior at Rutgers University and one of the current Presidents of the Rutgers Companion Animal Club.
I have been handling and fostering for Merlin's KIDS for over two and a half years and honestly it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Being able to help each and every dog in some way in order to help with their service dog journey to become amazing service dogs for children and veterans in need is truly inspiring.
It is definitely not for everyone. It can be very hard to let them go, as they feel like your best friend. However at the same time it is not that hard because you get to see the difference that they make for their recipient. One of the best examples I can give of this is my first foster PJ. I started fostering him in May of 2018 and I was unbelievably excited. I took him everywhere! Restaurants, the movies, to classes, you name it! I even took him with me on the train to New York City to see Wicked on Broadway. Then he got placed with his forever family in April of 2019. I still remember the moment that made every single minute spent working with him truly worth it. His recipient was sitting on the couch and PJ was lying right next to him. His recipient looked in his direction and PJ touched his nose to his face and it made him laugh and smile. I then realized how happy his person and PJ were and how I had truly helped "save two lives at a time." I am even more thankful that I was able to foster Jimmy, who will be saving many lives in the courtroom.
I am so thankful to Merlin's KIDS for this amazing opportunity. As a future teacher, I care a lot about helping children and people in general and I am so thankful I am able to give back to the community through my immense love of dogs!
Courtney, Merlin's KIDS is so thankful for you and all the wonderful students in our University Partners Program! It's truly a win, win, win for all involved! Thank you for your dedication to saving two lives at at time! And thank you for dedicating your birthday to help even further! Happy birthday!