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  • After living in a variety of states, Sheryl Ochs is happily settled in Rayville, Missouri. A former teacher of general and special education students in predominantly low-income areas, she is fulfilling her long-time hope and dream of working for a nonprofit. She is one of the founders of Special Needs Services.

    As a Support Coordinator, Sheryl has worked for over six years with individuals to monitor the services they require and to ensure they can make decisions regarding their needs, goals, and preferences, as well as understand the choices available to them. In her Quality Assurance role, she works tirelessly to make sure documentation is submitted accurately and in time so that individuals can receive the supports they need.

    Sheryl is known for her organizational skills, her ability to “get it done,” and for “speaking paragraphs with just a look.” She spends her free time walking charity 5K events and relaxing at home with her husband and a variety of rescue dogs, one of whom is SNS’s therapy dog, Mercury.


    Rescued from an animal shelter where employees feared she was too scared to be adoptable, Mercury “Curry” Rose now lives a pampered life in Ray County where she has worked as Special Needs Services’ therapy dog since 2016. Mercury earned her national certification through Pet Partners, her Therapy Dog Advanced title through American Kennel Club, and she has received the Canine Good Citizen Award.

    In her role as Special Needs Services’ therapy dog, Mercury lifts spirits, decreases feelings of isolation and alienation, increases socialization and a sense of community, encourages communication, decreases anxiety, and in general has a calming effect on staff, clients, their families, and other members of the community. Mercury has assisted with education and demonstration of her skills in a variety of venues, from Middle School Career Day to Kiwanis Club. She attends most SNS sponsored functions. While she works primarily out of the main office, Mercury makes house calls by request.