For Luke's safety, his therapy workers and child psychiatrist have agreed Luke needs an Autism service dog... Luke's service dog would be trained in search and rescue techniques so the dog could quickly find Luke if Luke wandered away, was hiding or was lost. Luke's dog would also be trained in tethering techniques, where the dog and Luke would be tethered together when outside or in public and the dog would lay down (providing an anchor) if Luke tried to bolt into a dangerous situation or wander away - thereby preventing Luke from being hit by a car, drowning, becoming lost or walking away with a stranger. Luke's dog would also be trained to interrupt Luke's meltdowns by licking, nuzzling and even climbing into Luke's lap to redirect Luke's attention to the dog instead of the emotional upset he is going through. Luke has never slept in his own bed, he is too fearful - a service dog can sleep with Luke and provide the security Luke needs to stay in his bed and sleep through the night.
Additionally, a service dog humanizes a disabled person in the eyes of their community. Instead of the community staring at an autistic child and wondering what is wrong with the child, the service dog at first sight tells people this child is unique and special. People accept the child's peculiarities - if the dog accepts the child, then the child must be "okay." This allows the child to socially interact in their community at their own level of ability, and the community can engage in conversation with the autistic child on a subject that is safe ground for both of them: the service dog. Social interaction is crucial for children with autism to practice and gain confidence in. For Luke, an Autism service dog will open many doors in multiple areas that have reduced his quality of life and made him fearful to leave his home. There are many additional benefits for a child with autism to gain from an Autism service dog, these are simply the main ones.
Autism service dogs are not new, but very few people have heard of them. The training required to produce an Autism service dog is extensive. The training is much more in-depth than the training required for a seeing eye dog or a hearing assistance dog. The cost involved is high, at $13,000 per dog. Traditional service dogs are generally given to their owners for free - this is based on the organization's ability to raise funds to pay for all training and costs involved. These organizations have staff whose job is to raise funds. This limits the number of dogs which can be trained and creates long waiting lists of up to 5 or 6 years.
At 4 Paws for Ability, Inc., they believe a family is able to reach out to their individual communities and raise funds quicker than the organization's attempts at fundraising, thereby reaching the fundraising goal quicker and allowing the child to receive their service dog quicker. When a community is aware of a child's needs, the community has the ability to pull together and help that child. This is where my request comes in. On behalf of Luke's needs, we are attempting to raise funds for his service dog by reaching out to those who have followed his needs through the years and have enjoyed Hope Chest Legacy while it was open. And basically, we are asking for help. As a family, we can't possibly afford the $13,000 donation for a dog and the $4000+ it will take in travel, lodging and food expenses (to train with the dog for 10 days). We might not be able to afford the dog, but we believe God can use parents and families to meet this incredible need. Will you please help us? Although we have never done anything like this before, we believe that humanity does care for its own - and God is greater than the $13,000 we need for this dog. When a need is shown, people work together to meet that need. In Luke's case, he needs an Autism service dog to increase his quality of life, help him overcome his intense fears and provide safety for him on a daily basis. Please help Luke...
To donate directly through Paypal with our "Spare Change" fundraiser, send the spare change in your Paypal account to ERCCSWIL@aol.com. (This is not tax deductible.)
· Mail a check or money order directly to 4 Paws for Ability, Inc. This is tax deductible. Please place c/o Luke Wilson somewhere on the check or money order so Luke will be credited for your donation. Your check or money order can be sent to the following address:
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, OH. 45385
· Go to http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/lukeadoodle for updated information about Luke's progress in gaining his dog. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you believe would be interested in helping Luke! The online community is vast and this message can reach many willing hearts...
On Luke's behalf - thank you for your help!