Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! Interview with Tabitha Bell

By Victoria Feng, Editor-in-Chief

 

After her own experience using a service dog, Tabitha Bell witnessed firsthand how helpful a service dog was.  Her doctor told her how many people were unable to afford the cost of getting a service dog.  Tabitha decided to take this issue into her own hands by starting the organization Pawsitive Pawsibilities, which raises money to help people buy service dogs.

Amazing Kids (AK): What inspired you to start Pawsitive Pawsibilites?  

Tabitha Bell (TB): I started Pawsitive Pawsibilities because I was told by my doctors I would be in a wheelchair by high school. I did not want to be in a wheelchair, so I got Sunny, my first balance and brace dog. I remember when I first went to my surgeon after I had been walking with Sunny and he was amazed how I could walk down a hallway barefoot without holding on to my mom’s arm. He said that he needed 20 more of those type of dogs for his patients but they cost about $10,000-$20,000 and most people can’t afford them on top of medical bills. That is how I got the idea to start “Paws”. To date we have raised over $120,000 and we are on our 10th placement. We mainly place with physical disabilities such as balance and brace, wheelchair assistance, and diabetic alert.

AK: What has been the most challenging part of managing Pawsitive Pawsibilites?

TB: It is always a struggle to come up with new and innovative ways to raise money.

AK: What are the different ways that Pawsitive Pawsibilites raises money?

TB: We have done uniform free-dress competitions in my middle school and then my high school. I have done a benefit concert,Sunny’s Spring Sing, at my high school which I hope to continue in college. I put on my first annual Super Paws 5k in Utah and we are organizing our second annual for October in California. So we would love to have as much participation as we can get!

AK: How do you choose a puppy-owner match?

TB: The placements have always found us. We get referrals from doctors, physical therapists, and just family friends. After we have an initial meeting with the person and we send them to a dog trainer and let the trainer make the final decision. The person will discuss with the trainer what breed and what jobs the dog has to do and then the trainer will find a dog that has a personality he thinks will suit the owner.

AK: What to you view as your greatest accomplishment?

TB: My greatest accomplishment is not only to overcome the barriers I have faced but help inspire others to overcome their own.

AK: If you could change any single thing in the world, what would you change?

TB: I would hope we could see each other as individuals and appreciate how all of our different backgrounds combine to make the world a more beautiful place.

AK: What advice would you give to our readers about following their dreams and making a difference?

TB: Don’t give up. Even when things get rough just look at it as a growing experience to help you gain your strength. The journey is more rewarding than just the endpoint. There’s always tomorrow and so look towards the future and pursue your dreams no matter how hard you think it will be.

AK: What are your goals for the future?

TB: This fall I’m going to be attending the University of California Berkeley for political economy. I am hoping to use my skills I acquire to inspire others and lead Pawsitive Pawsibilities to expand to hopefully the nation.

AK: Do you have anything else to add?

TB: Go check out our website www.pawsitivepawsibilities.org and our Instagram @pawsitive_pawsibilities and our Facebook. Also, my new service dog, Nox, has his own instagram that shows the sometimes entertaining behind the scenes of a service dog @adventuresofnox

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