Personality: Bunny Sumner Young

8/2/2018, 6 a.m.
Bunny Sumner Young’s journey with service animals started when she was a teenager. “I was 14 years old when I ...
Bunny Sumner Young

Support from the Kibbles and Bids fundraiser is vital, Ms. Young says, because it costs $20,000 to $30,000 to train a service dog. Sometimes, families have to travel great distances and spend weeks away from home to secure a service dog, she says.

“Our first scholarship went to an 8-year-old with autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and epilepsy,” Ms. Young says. “If it wasn’t for PSDC and having an owner-trained option, that child never would have been able to have a service animal.”

For PSDC, it is important for the community to understand that some people prefer to be referred to as “differently disabled” instead of disabled.

“We (people with service dogs) are not disabled, meaning we can’t do what you do but can pretty much do anything that you can do,” she says. “It just takes six legs to make that possible, instead of two.”

Meet this week’s Personality who takes a “paws” for her cause, Bunny Sumner Young:

Occupation: Service dog advocate and burnout consultant.

No. 1 volunteer position: Executive director and chair of the board of Pawssible Service Dog Connection. It is my job to give a voice to those with service animals and educate the community around those individuals.

Date and place of birth: Oct. 25 in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Current residence: Louisa County.

Education: Master’s degree in psychology and counseling.

Family: One incredible husband, two gorgeous daughters, one snake, four dogs, one cat, one horse, two geckos and amazing parents.

PSDC’s No. 1 objective: To provide a best-practices solution for individuals around service animals.

What is a service animal: Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

Why service animals are needed: I would not be here without the help of my service animal. Medications impacted my quality of life. Having a service animal affords me the freedom of a life with support and less fear.

PSDC provides: Education, resources such as scholarships and advocacy around service animals.

Cost for having a service animal: Could be between $20,000-$30,000.

PSDC’s biggest achievement: Representing the United States in Prague in 2016 at the International Assistance Dog Conference.

PSDC’s biggest challenges: Funding, and individuals who have not properly trained their dog and call it a service animal or who buy a vest online and bring their dog where they should not. Emotional Support Animals provide a poor reputation for service animals as individuals think they are the same thing and they are not.

What motivated me to get involved in community service: Having a disability and wanting others to know that I am differently abled, not disabled.

How I start the day: Wondering how can I make the world a better place.

Perfect day for me: Knowing that I have had a positive impact on this world and that my girls are safe, happy and healthy. It would involve the beach, with lots of laughing and good food.

How I unwind: Riding my horse, lying on the floor with the dogs and kids, listening to the ocean and taking a bath.

Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: Stunts. I love doing Australian Repels off high buildings and coordinated fight scenes.

A quote that I am inspired by: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is ever going to get better, it’s not.

Best late-night snack: Nutella.

Best thing my parents ever taught me: The value of a handshake. On time is late for leaders. And that my mom would love me even if I wanted to be a snail racer. It taught me unconditional love.

Person who influenced me the most: My grandfather.

The book that influenced me the most: Nancy Drew mystery series.

What I’m reading now: “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.”

The one thing I’ve learned in life: Perfection is overrated. There was only one perfect being and he was betrayed by his friends and died a horrible death, so I will shoot for being present and having peace over perfection.

My next goal: Give my daughters a kiss goodnight and thank the Lord for another day on this planet. Be published in Entrepreneur magazine.