Sara's Service Dog

$1,910 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 36 people in 16 months
Created December 4, 2017
Hi There! My name is Sara Boudreau and I hope you can take the time to hear my story. It will help explain as to why I require your help to get a service dog. I was born premature at 24 weeks at 660 grams and had 24 doctors at my call. After 5 months in the hospital I returned home to my anxious parents. It was later on that my parents discovered that I had Cerebral Palsy and they rushed to get me the physiotherapy I needed. I now wear leg braces and use an electric wheelchair to help for long distances. 

        When I entered high school I started experiencing fainting spells on a daily basis. It took 2 years for them to find out that I have Somatiform Pain Disorder. I like to explain it as if it was a reset button. When I get too overwhelmed, instead of the regular fight or flight response, I pass out and wake up or “reset”. I was also diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder which makes dealing with this quite difficult. I don't pass out as frequently however, I do have multiple panic attacks a day that I run the risk of passing out from, even in public.

           When I finally entered college to study art, I was struggling to attend classes as a result of my constant anxiety and fainting spells. I ended up falling into a bad Depression that I am currently being treated for. I’ve had to move out of my parents house and get an apartment closer to the hospital to receive treatment. I plan to go back to school but I’m scared of the same thing occurring. It would be nice to have a furry friend to help give me the courage to get out of bed and face the day! My dream is to study animation and I hope I can do that with the support of a service dog.

     I’ve been told over the years to get a service dog to help with all of my conditions. My friends and family are super supportive but I am very independent and want to relieve some of their worries of me being on my own. It can help me handle my panic attacks, pick up dropped items, help me go out on my own and so much more. Unfortunately, the cost of one is between $20,00 - $30,00 which I cannot afford on my own as I am on disability but I hope you can find it in your heart to help me achieve my dream and live a more comfortable life!

     Thank you for your time in reading this and even if you can’t support financially, it would be greatly appreciated if you could share this page!
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Hi Everyone!
I’ve been swamped with finals from school lately but that’s all over for now and I have a nice week off until I start up again.... yay! That aside, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I am pursuing a service dog in this form so I have made a FAQ to answer these questions and I hope it will clear any apprehensions people have. I want to be as transparent as possible so if there are anymore unanswered questions please respectably
bring them to my attention.

1. Why is the cost so high?
I am honestly not 100% sure, it is just what I’ve been quoted from numerous companies. I assume it’s from all the effort to train the amazing dogs. Even places that provide the service dog for free have these costs listed for donations.

2. Are there any government support programs that can help?
Sadly, no there isn’t. In Canada, service dogs are considered medical devices but I have called many support programs from ADP (Assistive Devices Program) to the Red Cross, even programs that apply to my disability like the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and all have simply replied that they cannot help me.

3. Why don’t you go to one of the places that provide the dogs for free?
I have applied to one company known as The Lions Club Service Dogs and I am on a waiting list however, many of these companies, including the Lions Club unfortunately, will not train for a multi-functioning service dog that I need as well as for some I simply live too far away. That being said, I fully support these companies as they work very hard to provide dogs for so many people in need.

4. Why don’t you adopt a dog and train it to be a service dog?
Adoption is a great thing to do to help dogs in need but it’s hard to tell if they’d be fit to be a service dog. Service dogs must have a calm temperament and their training usually begins when they are puppies. It would truly be like winning the lottery to find the perfect dog at a shelter as most of the dogs have been abused in some way and require a lot attention and support themselves which I cannot provide.

5. Why don’t you just get an ESA (Emotional Support Animal)?
An ESA is wonderful to provide comfort to their handler but that is all that an ESA is able to provide. I even have been taking my family dog to school just so I’m no as scared to go outside but even he is unable to provide support for my mobility issues and he is unable to fully understand what to do when I have a panic attack besides kissing my tears away. I love him very much but an ESA just does not provide the support that I need.

6. How can a service dog help you with your mental illness?
Service dogs are capable of learning different techniques to help deal with mental illnesses and I will provide a few examples here. Grounding is a way for the dog to help you focus on them and not on the spinning chaos in your head. They can also use deep pressure therapy, where the dog applies pressure to their handler, usually by lying on them, to help decrease anxiety and provide comfort. They can also provide a dignified exit strategy for someone to escape a situation that is causing them stress.
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Hey everyone!

I have great news, I'm out of the hospital! It's been tough tackling everything I have to do since I'm out but everyone has been so helpful! I'm hoping thins move forward well.

Also, yesterday I was at Victor Paluck's art show! It's still going on until March 2nd, so check it out if you can! When I saw the piece he's donating to me in person “Wind” I teared up, its just so beautiful and I'm so thankful! You can also see more of his gorgeous work at vjpdesign.com.

Finally, I'm working hard to get the merchandise out for you guys! Unfortunately, life happens and I have fallen behind but I hope to get them out soon! So long as I finish my homework first, but I will keep you all updated!

Thank you all so much for your support!
Getting ready!
Me at the Art show with “Wind” behind me
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Hey everyone!

I feel bad that I'm reporting this but I hope others can read it and learn something to help someone or themselves.
Unfortunately, I had a relapse and I'm in the hospital for treatment. I just had a really bad day, everything was piling up at the wrong time and I felt so alone. It was all just too much so I wanted to hurt myself and end it all.

Luckily, I was able to call a friend who encouraged me to seek extra help. So I did and the next day I was admitted to the hospital where I've seen all the support I receive from my family, friends and doctors. This is just an extra layer of support that a service dog can provide for me. For when things are just too much they'll be there. I hope everyone knows they can reach out when things feel that way and get support.

As for me, I will hopefully be out of the hospital soon to continue with my life, as difficult as it may be at times, but I know with even your support, I can get through it all.
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Hello Everyone!

What a year it’s been so far! I wanted to update you on my life and some things going on for this fundraiser. Firstly, I started attending school again! It’s honestly been really tough but thanks to your support, I have a goal to work towards again.

Next is I’m working on some logo designs to put on t-shirts and other items that can be purchased to further support this fundraiser. I’m working really hard to get them out soon and I’ll update you all when they’re up and ready!

Last, but definitely not least, there is an art show at the Samuel J Zacks Gallery York University running through the month on February at the Keele campus. There will be an art sale held on February 15th from 6-9pm that will include a piece that was generously donated by the amazingly talented Victor Paluck. There is more info about this event on his webpage and I also highly encourage everyone to check out his website as his work is breathtaking and tells a story beyond every brushstroke. http://vjpdesign.com
I will also be attending so you can meet me and talk to me more about this campaign.

Thank you for helping move forward!
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$1,910 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 36 people in 16 months
Created December 4, 2017
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