Supporting survivors of human trafficking, and helping them thrive is a passion of The Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado, and the reason for this campaign.
Jessa Dillow-Crisp is not only a survivor of human trafficking, she is an advocate for the needs of fellow survivors, an author, a speaker, and a consultant for numerous organizations that are working to understand and fight the crime of human trafficking in our area and around the nation.
Jessa’s interactions with the Task Force began several years ago and we have seen her grow and push herself in amazing ways, always encouraging others and finding ways to support our community and fellow survivors of this crime. Since gaining her freedom she has given tirelessly to the anti-trafficking movement, rarely asking for help in meeting her own needs.
At our most recent human trafficking symposium Jessa spoke about the needs and challenges that survivors often face in their healing journey. She then challenged our community to be aware of the impacts we can make on people’s lives when we are alert and willing to take risks by engaging hard issues.
It was during this symposium that we learned of Jessa’s need for a service dog to help her with daily tasks, as well as support her when she travels and speaks. When we learned of this need the Task Force knew it was time to act and we are asking you to consider being a part of this as well!
An anonymous donor has already paid for Jessa’s puppy, and a service dog training program has been identified that will work with Jessa and her pup for the next 2 years to get the puppy fully trained as a service dog.
We are asking that you consider giving generously to help pay for the expenses of the training program (including training tools and a service dog vest upon graduation), mobility testing, start up vet costs and any other expenses that may arise in then next 2 years.
All of the money raised through this campaign will go directly to Jessa so that she can pay for expenses as they arise.
Here is a note from Jessa herself. THANK YOU for considering becoming a part of Jessa and Sig’s story by giving to this campaign.
THE BACKSTORY -
I was enslaved by my traffickers for over half my life. Though I have been physically free for the past 9-10 years, the level of the trauma I have experienced has impacted me on many different levels including ongoing PTSD, complex trauma, and multiple medical diagnoses.
I share part of my story here:
Even though I walk around with a smile on my face, each day presents its own unique struggles. Acknowledging this reality does not demean my experiences or say that I have not pursued healing. Rather, it is my desire that being vulnerable not only shows that I am choosing to live beyond my pain, but gives hope that you too can be authentic with your story. For you see, healing is not an instantaneous process, it is a lifelong journey that needs to be crafted for the particular needs of each individual person.
For me, dogs have been a huge part of my healing process.
I had Lily, Grandma Molly, and Jenny at the Safe House in Colorado. After I moved, there was Baily, Snickers, Mia, and Charlie. Each one of those dogs, at different times, comforted me as I cried, they would wake me up when I had nightmares, they would listen to the deep dark secrets I was scared to tell my therapist, they would go for walks with me and make me feel safe, and they would be present for me when I didn’t know how to be present for myself.
Although dogs have been instrumental in my healing process, due to some unique challenges, I haven’t had the ability to have a dog in my life over the past two years. Not having a dog has made things noticeably harder for me. After recognizing this reality and looking at the impact service dogs can have on a person who has experienced extreme trauma and has medical disabilities similar to the ones that I deal with, my team of doctors prescribed me with a multi-purpose service dog that will assist me with Psychiatric, Medical, and Mobility tasks.
After doing a lot of research about the best breed for the tasks that I need help with I have chosen a Standard Poodle puppy that I have named Sig, which means Victory (isn’t that a great name). Not only is Sig hypoallergenic, but when he becomes an adult he will be big enough to help me with my mobility needs.
I am BEYOND excited.
After years of waiting and praying for this miracle, in about a month, I will be going to Paonia, Colorado to bring home my service dog puppy that an anonymous donor has so graciously given to me.
Although my puppy has been paid for in full, there will be significant costs involved to get Sig to the point where he can graduate from his program and take the Public Access test. Below is an estimated cost breakdown.
$5,500 - 2 year training program through Faithfully K9 Service Dog and Dog Training* This estimate includes actual training as well as the tools used in the program (Service vests, training leash, clicker, training treats etc.)
$4,000 - Start up Veterinary/Animal care costs This estimate includes all required medical exams, immunizations, sterilization, as well as mobility testing to make sure Sig can perform his job well.
*We are excited to be able to say that another anonymous donor has already given $2,000 toward the costs of the service dog training! This brings the total need to $7,500.