We always knew there was something especially unique about our daughter Sarah. Sarah is extremely smart, sharing her plethora of information to whomever will stop to listen to her. Sarah has a strong spirit, with such fierce determination, she will someday set the world ablaze. She brings joy and laughter to every room she walks into.
At the same time, Sarah struggles with many “unseen” challenges. In the past couple of years, she has struggled with her ability to read social cues, interact with her peers, or adapt to situations and certain environments. It was at this time we had a formalized assessment completed and Sarah was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (High Functioning Autism/Aspergers). Autism is called a Spectrum disorder because there is a wide range of varying characteristics, unique to each individual. Dr. Stephen Shore has been quoted as saying, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”.
This year we pulled Sarah from school and began homeschooling. In addition, we started therapeutic horseback riding, because those on the spectrum tend to relate better to animals than to people, building empathy and understanding of others. The down side to a horse, however, is that we only see it once a week. On the recommendation of our doctor, we began looking into the process of getting a service dog. We soon realized there was a great need for service dogs in supporting people on the spectrum as well as other persons with disabilities. The “free” service dogs had lengthy year wait lists and were no longer taking applications. Thankfully we came across Pawsitive Independence (PI), a local organization, that willingly took our application. We were recently informed that our application has been accepted!! We are excited to announce that Sarah will be getting her own service dog!!! Please note that the dog in the picture is NOT her service dog. She posed with Andy, a service dog from PI.
We are so thankful you are reading this and we invite you to pray for us as we journey through the nest step of this process. If you are able to contribute to the financial costs, we would be so grateful for your support. The cost of a service dog is $30,000! We have been asked to try and fundraise $15,000, while they choose and train the best fitting dog for Sarah’s needs. This process could be anywhere from six months to two years. We will be planning many fun events as a way to fundraise, so please follow and like our Facebook page “Sarah’s Service Dog ”.