Help Kain get a service dog

How many times have you been startled simply because you didn't hear someone come up behind you? You immediately grab your chest, let out a sigh of relief, and you and your friend start laughing hysterically, and all you can think to say in that moment is, "you scared the crap out of me!!!" Your friend, teary eyed from the belly chuckles responds, "I'm so sorry, I thought you heard me." But what if this was everyday life for you?
 
I have racked my brain on how to explain life with cochlear implants and here is what I came up with…NOTHING.

Honestly, I have researched this topic for the last 10 years. I can research subjects, such as, auditory exhaustion until I'm completely exhausted. I can sit and talk to a teen with cochlear implants, listening to them explain life as a student and the splitting headaches by lunchtime from concentrating their mouth. I can read articles about loud dark restaurants, feeling "alone" in group conversations, and the inability to get relaxed enough to sleep through the night.

For a moment to imagine with me, the anxiety you might feel knowing that if a smoke detector goes off at night, a doorbell rings, or the morning alarm goes off, there is a strong possibility that you will be the last to know, if at all. While it is true, I know way more now about hearing loss, audiograms, and inner ear anatomy than I thought I'd ever care or need to know.  The truth is that I can't fully explain that feeling to you and provide it the justice it deserves, because the truth is, I will never know firsthand. What I can tell you with confidence is, I have a son that is perfect the way he is.

 To know Kain means you know a child that can light up a room whenever he walks into it. He is a happy 10-year-old boy that is incredibly outgoing, kind and with a huge heart filled with love. While Kain knows sign language and loves it; he uses a mixture of spoken English and ASL to communicate. He has been blessed with cochlear implants aiding in his ability to electronically hear. This technology has helped in Kain’s development; however, hearing doesn't always equal understanding.

There are audible notifications EVERYWHERE to get our attention. There are many things designed to alert us when there is danger or there is a high potential for danger. Things such as fire alarms, car horns, tornado sirens, etc. we hear, rather we want to or not. Things that Kain must try to distinguish and actively listen for just simply to stay safe. Not only is this exhausting but missing one of these queues could be harmful.

Recently Kain was introduced to the concept of a service dog for the deaf or “hearing dog” and immediately the impact and safety that such a dog could bring to Kain’s life was realized. A clear example of this is that Kain cannot wear his implants in the shower or for bed and having the security of a hearing dog to not only notify him of dangers but to assist in getting to safety is invaluable. This would also provide him with a feeling of security that will allow him to get good quality rest, a must for a growing boy. A hearing dog is always on duty assisting with the day-to-day tasks and being alert for everything from traffic in a parking lot to alerting on intercom announcements.

After speaking with licensed trainers and breeders there are multiple paths to make this happen and after examining all available information the best path seems to be, first to acquire the appropriate dog and second to begin the 1-1/2 to 2 year training program as a puppy. This will both allow the puppy to begin its service life as an emotional partner for Kain, which is very important for sleep and anxiety, but also provide Kain the necessary time to develop the habits required to properly care for his service dog as they grow together.

I have taken the first steps by working with a trainer and breeder to determine that a goldendoodle would be the best overall fit, as they are highly intelligent, and were specifically bred as service dogs. The best news of all is that we have been notified about a female goldendoodle service dog that would be available at the beginning of October. She will help Kain experience the world in a whole new way and grow up with the confidence and independence that all parents wish for their children.

This is where your generosity comes in! Beyond the cost of the dog, the training and maintenance of such a dog, for such a specific purpose does not come cheap and there is a long road ahead before Kain will be able to utilize his dog to her full potential. This training is estimated to be between 18-24 months, however choosing to train her while having her in the home allows Kain to immediately receive assistance from her during the training process. AKC estimates the cost of simply training a hearing dog to run in excess of $20,000 without consideration of veterinary, additional expenses and certification costs.

There is a great sense of relief knowing that Kain will be able to grow up with a companion that can both aid in his development but be able to assist him unconditionally and without question. We appreciate your help in allowing Kain to receive this much needed support. I know times are hard but, if you can or want to give, any amount you feel called to donate is greatly appreciated. All the funds raised will go directly to the cost of the Kain’s hearing dog, as well as the intensive training, health care and well-being of her. She and Kain have their own bank account. So, if you have already donated. That money went directly to that account. Of course, if you don't have the ability to give, we would still ask that you please PRAY. We covet your prayers for Kain, the puppy, and for the trainers that will forever alter the path of Kain’s life.

 Thank you so much for taking the time read this. Please share.



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Donations

  • Chuck Feay 
    • $100 
    • 9 d
  • Douglas Sanders 
    • $50 
    • 11 d
  • Karen Cooper 
    • $40 
    • 11 d
  • Susan Beutler 
    • $3,000 
    • 12 d
  • Paula McCarter 
    • $20 
    • 12 d
See all

Organizer

Amber Cromwell 
Organizer
Cabot, AR
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