My name is Michelle and I started this fundraiser two years ago for the most important person in my life, my wonderful son Jareth.
Imagine being five years old again....the world is a confusing place, most things and people are bigger than you are, you are beginning to find your way around school or Kindergarten. The world is a place full of things to discover, questions that need answers, new things to experience.
Now imagine understanding every word spoken to you but not being able to talk back.
Imagine wanting to tell your Mother something is bothering you, you're not feeling well, but you can't speak.
Think about how it would feel to walk around a supermarket where suddenly it seems there are too many people, the noise too loud and the lights too bright and all you want to do is run and hide, so instead you scream and cry because you can't speak and have no other way to let anyone know that there is something wrong.
Imagine having no control over your body suddenly and having a seizure, not knowing what is going on or why you suddenly feel like this. It is very frightening but there is no-one around to let know you need help.
Imagine wanting to join in playing with other kids your age, but being pushed away, being called stupid, a freak, a weirdo, dumb, understanding what you are being called but having no way to stand up to the bullies because you can't speak, you just feel the hurt at being excluded and not knowing why.
Imagine now how I feel, as a single parent, having to watch my precious child be confronted with these extra difficulties every single day in one form or another and wanting to help my Jareth find his feet in the world and have something to love who will give him unconditional, non-judgemental love back. A friend who can let someone know if you need help, a friend to play and have fun with. That is why I started this fundraiser for a therapy dog for my son Jareth.
Jareth has autism and epilepsy, which means life is a challenge for him. He cannot speak yet and has meltdowns when he is in crowds of people or if there is a lot of noise he doesn't like. He is at kindergarten which can sometimes be overwhelming and frustrating for him, but he seems to enjoy his time there for the most part.
Jareth is now five years old, loves Formula One racing, whales, dolphins and nature documentaries, anything to do with cars, music and dancing, playing in the sandpit and lining up his soft toys. He loves to laugh and give people hugs, everyone who knows him thinks he is very precious and lovable.
Like most children with autism, he has trouble with socialising and it has been recommended we get a therapy dog for him.
I am a single mother and raising Jareth is a full time job, so I am unable to work at the moment. We have enough to live on, but nothing for extra needs, and the needs of a child with autism and epilepsy are many. My ex-husband has not paid any child support in the four years since we parted and it is hard for me to make him as we now live in Europe and my ex lives in Canada.
Aside from all the extra money needed for special learning toys and equipment I have now been told that a therapy dog is just the right thing for Jareth's development. Not only does Jareth gain a loyal and loving friend but the dog will be trained in our home especially for Jareth's needs. The dog will be taught learning games that they can do together, will be taught to react to the danger signs of an epileptic episode to alert me, to help calm Jareth when he is overwhelmed, in short, be the best friend in the world. Having a dog will also help Jareth with socialising and be a source of unconditional comfort on bad days.
After months of searching for the right dog the one we got turned out to be an over excited biter, which doesn't work for a Service Dog. Golden Retrievers or Labradors are ideal for the type of dog we are looking for, but unfortunately cost between €1200-€1500!
The training will cost an additional €3500-€5000. Then getting the dog registered as a therapy dog so he can accompany us everywhere, things like a harness, leads, a sleeping basket and special dog training toys will also cost money, how much exactly I do not know. But even the basic cost of just the puppy and training is €6500 so all expenses will be covered.
Please help me complete our little family with a dog for Jareth, who would not only be vitally important in his development but also vital in keeping Jareth safe. We would be grateful for any contribution, however small, as they all add up. Just pretend you are inviting us for a coffee and donate that amount, as every little helps.
I thank you for your help in advance and will post regular updates on the progress with the fundraiser and how Jareth is doing. Your help can REALLY make a difference to a little boy's life.
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