Service Dog for Renee

Dear Friends and Family,

 We have always found ourselves reluctant to ask for help in material ways.  However, in the midst of our current need, we feel led to step out and ask for your prayerful consideration in helping our family at this time.

 For those who don't know, Renee has a complex combination of medical problems. Several of these, by themselves, are debilitating diseases that can keep people from working, taking part in family activities, or even doing daily self-care. When you put her cocktail of diagnoses together, her doctors often shake their heads and ask how she’s even managing to function. To be honest, sometimes she doesn’t function very well.  Some days, she can’t function at all.   Yet, she tries very hard to work through the pain, weakness, and exhaustion with a smile on her face, counting each thing she can manage to do as a blessing.

 More specifically, Renee has two muscular-skeletal diseases are non-curable and progressive, meaning that she continues to decline in health as time progresses. Walking, climbing stairs, carrying something as simple as a purse, or even standing are quite difficult due to pain, weakness, and extreme fatigue.  Although she tries to use it in public as little as possible, she often has to use a cane.  Climbing the stairs in our house is usually done on her hands and knees. More than three or four stairs in public means that she usually has to stop to rest or try to hoist herself up with her arms by the railing.  At any given time, her hip slips out of the socket causing her to fall if she is unable to quickly brace herself against something.  In addition, Renee has several neurological problems which, unfortunately, overtake much of her daily life.  Her days are controlled by the symptoms of narcolepsy and hypersomnia.

 As you might begin to imagine, getting through each day is a difficult, painful struggle for Renee.  Many things, from quality time with our family and friends to basic self-care, simply don’t get done because she’s just not physically able.  While we have many hopes and dreams for the future of our family, her career, and our ministry, the facts of her progressively declining health leave us in need of a drastic solution to improve her daily ability to function. Without help, it is uncertain how much longer Renee will be able to continue much of her daily life.

 Therefore, after thoroughly considering our goals for Renee’s well-being and our family, her medical team has agreed that the best course of action is for her to begin working with a service dog. His primary tasks will be mobility related but we plan to train him to assist with some of her other medical diagnoses as well.  In our desire to be good stewards, we have decided against acquiring a dog that was specifically bred and pre-trained for the assistance tasks.  Rather, we are adopting a carefully selected rescue dog and self-training him with the assistance of local resources.

While this is an important step in her medical care, it presents a financial burden.  The up-front cost is $2,500.  Because insurance does not cover any part of this, we are in need of coming up with these funds in addition to the significant amounts that we already spend on her medical expenses.  These funds are needed for the following related expenses:

Dog adoption fee                                $350
Initial vet expenses                           $170
Specialized mobility harness      $1,260
Training equipment                          $240
Travel supplies                                     $90
Classroom dog supplies                  $120
Home dog supplies                            $270

After much searching, we have finally found an excellent prospect for a dog to serve Renee’s needs.  She and the dog will begin working together this Saturday with the expectation that he will be trained and ready to begin the school year with her.  As a result of this time line, we are in a crunch to come up with these funds in the next couple of weeks.  It is for this reason that we are coming to you, our friends and family, to share this need with you and ask that you prayerfully consider supporting our family in this way.

 We ask you to keep us in your prayers as we undergo this exciting, hopeful transition.  Pray that things will go smoothly, that the dog will be a great fit for Renee’s needs, and that they will train well together.   Pray that the assistance the dog will provide will allow Renee to better fulfill her roles as wife, mom, teacher, musician, and servant of the Lord.

 With thanks and love,
Jerry & Renee


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Renee Jeandell Polman 
Newark, DE
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