Help Us Train Sophia’s Service Dog And Get Her Back To Colby
Organized by: Lauren Weiner
Many of you have offered to help Rebecca & Matt Marcontell and Sophia Marcontell Reyes in the past 2-½ years. Here is your opportunity to help:
Your help would support:
• Medical & Training costs for Zeus, an emotional support pet, to assist Sophia in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety (approx $5,000)
• Out of pocket medical costs to treat a sleep disorder (currently at $10,000)
This is Sophia’s story:
Sophia became a foster daughter to the Marcontells in June 2014, the summer before her senior year at Reagan High School. Rebecca read an online Heights Kids post about Sophia’s situation and felt called to respond. Matt and Rebecca fast-tracked their foster parent certification by the State over a quick two-month period and then welcomed her into the family with Rachel, their 6-year old.
In her Senior Year of High School, Sophia was President of the Senior Class and recipient of a Posse Scholarship to Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She also had reconstructive knee surgery and rehab to repair a 2-year old torn ACL.
In the summer of 2015 after graduating high school, Sophia started experiencing a severe case of insomnia (sleeping 1 – 3 hours on the nights she got any sleep at all). The Marcontells were unable to get anyone in the Superior Healthcare/Star Health plan (the health care provided to foster and former foster kids) to provide treatment for her sleeping problems and so Sophia had to begin her college freshman year in Maine without any improvement.
By Spring Week Break 2016, Rebecca identified a medical group that could provide treatment. Sophia took a Medical Leave of Absence from college to start treatment with plans to return to school in the fall.
The Marcontell Family adopted Sophia in May 2016 and they added her to their health insurance, but many of the doctors and treatments for her sleeping problems remain out-of-network or uncovered. She also needed significant “catch-up” medical and dental care for more routine general healthcare.
Several of the medical professionals working with Sophia suggested that an Emotional Support Pet could be a good alternative for her to mitigate the PTSD. Serendipitously, a 40 lbs catahoula/husky mix appeared under their house on the morning of July 4th and made an instant connection with Sophia. She promptly named him Zeus and announced that he was her dog. They cleaned and vetted him, and confirmed that he was suitable to be her service dog with a local dog training group. Zeus was put through a substantial training program which included an 11-day immersion training and includes ongoing, regular training for both the dog and the Marcontells. Training will include more formal service dog training in the future.
By mid-August, it became clear that Sophia needed some more time to get her care completed. She is currently finishing up treatment, completing Zeus’ training, taking a class at UH and working in preparation to return to Maine in January.
Thank you all for the support you have shown Sophia and the rest of the family over the years and for any donations you are able to make.