Donate to Support Dori Tempio

Smart, loving, silly, dedicated, and doggone fabulous; these are the traits of my vibrant service dog, Casper. A yellow Labrador retriever who not only became my PAAL(S) five years ago, but literally, my right hand guy. Having a rare neuro-muscular disability which affects the use of my hands and legs, since birth, Casper is the third service dog to enrich my life. Like all good things do, his time as my service dog is coming to an end. For all his loyalty, companionship, determination, and selfless work, his 401 K and retirement are well deserved. His heartfelt personality and deep, giving nature has encouraged me to embark on a new adventure, knowing he is ready to embrace another canine friend into our home and lives to serve as his successor.

As an energetic woman, I never cease wanting to be a productive member of society by giving back in numerous ways. Holding down a full-time job as the Information and Referral/Training Coordinator for Able South Carolina, I work to create greater access and opportunities for independence through empowering individuals with disabilities and promoting community inclusion. Together, my service dog and I educate as well as train Federal and State agencies, local government entities, community organizations, and individuals with disabilities as well as service providers on the American with Disabilities Act, Disability Sensitivity, Emergency Preparedness, Hiring People with Disabilities, Housing, Transitioning, Service Animals, and Independent Living Skills to name but a few topics. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “You get out of life exactly what you put into it.” With this idea in mind, having a service dog allows me the freedom to navigate the community independently using public transportation, with the service dog doing tasks ranging from helping me transfer out of my wheelchair, retrieving my cell phone, handing my wallet to a cashier, opening and closing doors for me, or simply, pressing the automatic elevator or entrance doors for me in public buildings.

Changing perspectives and working to help others have been key parts in my life, and having a service dog enhances my abilities to serve as a volunteer, as well. I volunteer as a motivational speaker, PAALS Foster with my husband, training new PAALS clients on being a good human partner for your service dog, PAWS for Reading, helping children learn to read, and at a variety of PAALS events. This would not be possible without a service dog. A service dog helps me get dressed in the morning and undressed at night, carries items for me, hands me my office and home telephone, gets help for me in an emergency, reaches my toothbrush, retrieves my coat and keys, and gets my jacket on and off. I am truly appreciative of all the skills and tasks a service dog performs for me, and want to continue being a steadfast community contributor.

Please assist me and PAALS in reaching our goals of being independent, and flourishing through the great work of service dogs like Casper. His successor will change my life, and offer me new opportunities of freedom just as he and PAALS do. Ed Roberts, founder of the Independent Living Movement says it best, “Instead of doing tasks for individuals with disabilities, let’s teach them to do it themselves.” PAALS is founded on those ideas, and by teaching service dogs’ skills that empower an individual with a physical disability like myself, we are truly able to be self-sufficient as well as included in all facets of community life whether it be employment, owning a home, marriage, doing chores, paying bills at community locations, and recreational outings with friends and family. I humbly ask you to support me in my endeavors to remain active, productive, and have a dynamic quality of life by contributing to my PAALS fund for a successor service dog.

To make a donation to support Dori, please complete the form below.

You may also donate by mailing a check to PAALS, 221 N. Grampian Hills Rd., Columbia, SC 29223. Please note it may take up to three weeks to receive a postal letter acknowledging your donation and providing your receipt for tax purposes. Online donations are acknowledged and sent a receipt immediately via email.