As many connections begin, Facebook brought Mary Ellen Berger and AIR Co-Founder Tricia Baker together through their mutual interest in Pomeranians. Naturally, Mary Ellen learned about AIR through this connection and has continued to learn about AIR and the work Tricia does through her Facebook posts.
“I got a Pomeranian for my daughter, Tabitha, and I fell in love with the breed. I have been breeding Pomeranians for about seven years now. Next thing I knew, I had purchased Henry’s father for myself and the rest is history,” Mary Ellen said.
“Tricia had contacted me about wanting a successor for Miki one day. Tricia was a Godsend to me and I decided to donate a puppy to her and the AIR program when the time came,” Mary Ellen said, explaining that Tricia provided support for Mary Ellen when Tabitha was diagnosed with depression about four years ago.
“We looked at a few litters before Henry was born and we waited for just the right one. Many traits are passed down from the parents to their offspring and temperament is one of them. Henry’s father, Edward, is one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever met. He is always looking for a lap to sit on and trying to get someone’s attention. He is outgoing and friendly and he adores people. Henry’s mother, Gemma, has that same personality. I knew any dog who received those traits from Edward and Gemma would make a great AIR dog. I watched Henry mature those first few months and as his personality developed, I knew he was the one,” Mary Ellen said.
“Tricia and her family are some of the most selfless people I ever met. The AIR program reaches so many students who might never be reached otherwise. AIR makes it a point to let these students know they are not alone, that others experience the same feelings and emotions they do, and that there is hope. AIR is also a fantastic support for parents, such as myself, who are trying to help adolescent and even adult children with mental health issues,” Mary Ellen added. “I will always be grateful to Tricia and AIR for helping me through a very difficult time. I will support them in any way I can.”
Since Henry joined the Baker and AIR families early last year, he has excelled in his training and recently earned his certification as a Therapy Dog. He has already traveled extensively, helped draw Supernatural convention attendees to AIR’s exhibit tables and provides support to many students at Coming Up for AIR™ presentations.
In fact, Henry will accompany Tricia to a Supernatural convention in Houston, Texas later this week and Coming Up for AIR presentations to all students at Shepherd High School in Shepherd, Texas. Tabitha made these presentations possible.
“What inspired me to make arrangements for AIR to present at my local school is Shepherd High School’s need for the education and support that I know AIR provides. It is so important for mental health to be taken seriously, and it’s during these high school years that people struggle the most to maintain their health,” Tabitha said. “Every day, I witness my classmates struggle with the pressures of school and life, and I struggle myself. This time period is very stressful, so I think it is extremely important for teachers, students and parents to become aware and educated on mental health.”
“I’m thrilled that I’m able to join Tricia at some of the Supernatural conventions and school presentations. These events and all other volunteer opportunities with AIR are so rewarding,” said Shauna Moses, who has been a member of AIR’s Board of Trustees since January 2013. “We experience first-hand the impact we have through conversations with fellow Super-natural fans at the conventions and with students during the presentations. Many share their mental health struggles with us and we bond over this deep, common ground we share. It reinforces our determination to forge ahead on our mission.”