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Help Us Fund K's Service Dog!

$7,055 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 16 people in 2 months

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This fundraiser is a continuation of our YouCaring fundraiser (the site shut down) to help us pay for the remaining training and certification of K's service dog, Legba,
who we have adopted thanks to funds raised so far to help with her day-to-day needs while living with epilepsy. In case you're curious about who we are, what her condition is like, or what our current goals are, please read on!

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About Us

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We're A. Stiffler and K. Copeland, a queer couple who makes their living creating comics, stories, and illustrations, with a focus on LGBT culture, mental health, and disabilities. You might have gotten to know us through ChaosLife or FindChaos! In fact, we've known each other since we were 14 and 12, so when K experienced her first seizure in late 2016, it came as a shock to both of us, which brings me to...

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K's Condition

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The first hospital visit in our adult lives was after K's initial tonic clonic seizure. Several more seizures and hospital visits after, K was finally diagnosed with epilepsy. This diagnosis means a lot of things for her, including not being able to drive, having to be accompanied while out of the house, trial and error with various medications and routines to manage symptoms, and limiting many activities because of their potential to unexpectedly trigger her seizures. K has spent her life being fiercely independent and active, so this new reality has caused her nearly unmanageable depression and anxiety, which exacerbates her symptoms. Her epilepsy is still not under control with partial seizures happening nearly every day and worse events typically once a month. I'm doing the best I can to support and monitor her on my own, but with full-time work hours and keeping up with our day-to-day needs, it just isn't fair to her well-being. So...

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Our Goals

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We adopted a service dog (in training) and named him Legba! We talked it over and researched for months, consulted the laws and regulations, spoken with K's doctors, and collectively decided it was the best step we could do right now for her quality of life, especially since her seizures are resistant to current medications. As a service dog, Legba is being trained to respond to her particular needs, including detecting seizures as they're coming on, warning her to sit or rest to avoid falls, rolling her over or providing other protection for her as a seizure happens, helping her with daily tasks like fetching items when she feels unsafe walking, alerting me if she's ill, and providing anxiety relief. Having a service dog, even though he's a rookie, has already helped K regain independence by giving her security when she goes out for walks, and soon the two of them will be able to run errands alone or visits family and friends.

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Why A Fundraiser?

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Simply put, getting and training a service dog is expensive. With our savings tied up in ongoing projects and our monthly income going towards living expenses and medical bills, we simply don't have the extra lump sum it takes to pay for professional training and coaching, despite having the budget for his ongoing food, insurance, and care. This fundraiser has already helped to cover the cost of adoption and transportation, and some basic training, initial vet visits/shots. Now we're paying for Legba's specialized schooling and home visits from trainers to tailor his service skills to K's particular needs. 

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Where Does the Money Go? 

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About $3,000 went towards the cost of adopting a young dog with a personality assessment, a clean health record, and guaranteed lineage. $1,000 - 2,000 has gone towards the initial costs of establishing a relationship with a local training program, including application costs, interviews, and advising in the adoption process. $1,500 has been budgeted for initial vet costs, including health checks and vaccinations, and various pet supplies/food. And a whopping $5,000 - $15,000 will go towards the actual training of our service dog, which includes intensive training, potential boarding during service dog "boot camp," and home visits to learn individualized skills for K's needs.

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I hope you consider helping us and sharing our GoFundMe fundraiser where you can. I've set a low-ballpark goal for the expenses since the cost of his schooling will vary based on his needs and our budget. I appreciate the hell out of you visiting our page and reading through this. Our entire lives have been built on the foundation of you all supporting us as a collective and I'm incredibly grateful to have gotten to this point in our lives. Thanks for everything and all the love from both of us.

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XOXOX
Stiffler

+ Read More
**August Legba Update**

Hello, everyone! It's been a minute since we've updated you about Legba's training progress, so it seemed like a good time to summarize his first month's schooling and skills!

At the moment, Legba gets to spend a lot of his time just being a puppy and adjusting to our routines, the cats, and the neighborhood. Every day, K and I do some hands-on training with him, including treats-for-tricks-style lessons, happily giving him repetitive commands while he performs desired behaviors, encouraging him to spend time with K when she is having seizure activity, and so on. Every week, we meet with a professional trainer to work on more nuanced skills and guide us through some of the more complicated training techniques, which has been an enormous help already. We're so used to living with cats, having a creature that listens to us has been practically alien.

What has amazed us both is the fact that Legba is already doing his job really well! His best skills so far have been helping K walk around during dizzy spells by leaning up against her and letting K rest a hand on his back as they walk. When going up or down stairs, Legba will slow to K's pace and patiently wait for each step together. During K's panic attacks, even if Legba is in the middle of going puppy-fun-time crazy, he'll drop everything to lick K's face and fuss until K either feels better or I'm alerted to something being wrong. And it will sound unbelievable, but he will often take my hand in his teeth and gently pull my arm around K until we're hugging during stressful times. It's impossible to tell how many of these skills have been connecting with Legba through training or his incredibly empathetic nature, but either way, he has been a stellar dog. That doesn't even scratch the surface of what he's been capable of doing, but those skills in particular deserve an A+ and lots of internet head pats, imo.

We still have a long way to go with his training and we have some big skills to learn coming up: more store visits during increasingly busy times, getting into strange vehicles, desensitizing him to hospital settings, sirens, and strange people helping K, lying up against K during significant seizures, and so on. We're blessed to have the support and resources available to us to continue such complicated training, and that is entirely thanks to all of you. I can't emphasize enough how much of a positive difference Legba's presence has made in our little family and I'm excited to see what a superhero he grows up to be. We really couldn't have done this without you.

Thank you. Thank you for this.
+ Read More

$7,055 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 16 people in 2 months
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