Patty Dobbs Gross is the executive director of North Star Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization she founded whose mission is to place high quality assistance and therapy dogs with children who face social and emotional challenges. Patty earned her BA from the University of Massachusetts in Psychology and her MA from the University of Connecticut in Educational Psychology; she is also the author of THE GOLDEN BRIDGE: A Guide to Assistance Dogs for Children Challenged by Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities (Purdue University Press, 2006).
Patty has been married for thirty-three years to a man on the autism spectrum, and she is the mother of four children who are all an integral part of North Star’s work. Over a quarter century ago her son Danny received an assistance dog named Madison from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) to work with his challenges from autism, and from that experience, North Star was born. What Patty has learned about raising a child with a social/emotional challenge with the help of an assistance dog forms the very heart of North Star’s work.
That son, Dan Gross, recently graduated from USC’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in filmmaking and has created North Star’s extensive video library. He is now working with as an editorial assistant in Connecticut and doing freelance film work in Los Angeles and New York City.