As many of you know, Garrison was adopted from a Russian Orphanage at the age of 2 ½. He is now 11 years old. He is deaf and suffers from many issues related to Autism and Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder (ARND). We have watched Garrison struggle with coping day to day with these issues and the toll it takes on his body. There are days when he will experience many bouts of anxiety and/or fear that can last for a large majority of his day. It makes interaction with peers challenging. He also struggles with daily life activities that most of us take for granite. For Garrison, dealing with his severe anxiety has been very challenging and emotionally draining. He still gets up every day with a smile on his face. We are very proud of him. He works very hard but learning is very challenging and frustrating for him. In order to cope with many of these issues, Garrison will take off his cochlear implants and then he can no longer hear anything. He tries to feel safe by not being able to hear what is around him. He also cannot wear them when he sleeps or is in the shower. This becomes a safety issue. He also suffers from many repetitive behaviors that others find very odd. He wants a friend so badly, but he is not able to regulate his body and comprehend the steps that it takes to make and keep a friend. He feels very alone. We have learned from other families what a great benefit a service dog can be for a special needs child. It can help him in so many ways with day to day life. The cost associated with a service dog is in excess of $20,000.00 as the dog will be trained specifically for Garrison’s needs. It is amazing what animals can do to help people with their disabilities.
The dog will be trained to assist him with the following:
Hearing Assistance – the dog will be able to alert him to things he cannot hear (fire alarms, voices calling him or alerting him to potential danger, doorbell, alarm clock, to mention just a few) and offer a great peace of mind to us all in terms of safety issues. He will also help with safety in parking lots / streets.
Alert – the dog will sense an increase in Garrison’s anxiety level and try to guide and refocus him, or get Garrison out of a potential situation that can bring on an attack. He will also be able to let us know if Garrison might be trying to go outside unsupervised, which could be potentially dangerous for him. Since Garrison does not understand stranger danger, he will also provide support in that area too. He will also be able to track Garrison should he walk off for example in a crowded area.
Deep Tissue Pressure – the dog uses his body weight against Garrison’s body to help relieve anxiety and try to calm him.
Companionship – the dog will give Garrison emotional support and unconditional friendship to help with the loneliness.
We have many extraordinary expenses related to Garrison medical care, therapeutic care, and education. We would greatly appreciate any help toward this cause. Your love and support means so much to our family! Thank you from “The Roth Family”.
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- Robert Zendejas
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