Our eight year old son Xander (the blonde) would like you to please help him raise funds to get a best friend. This special boy needs a special friend, given his unique emotional need set and the serious physical limits of his brother (also eight and in cancer remission from Leukemia, after 3 years of treatment).
Xander was diagnosed with developmental delays at age 2. By age 4 he was diagnosed with ADHD and Autism Spectrum. He's been in special education classes and speech/occupational therapies since he started Kindergarten. He's come a long way since onset but we still have many things we are working on improving. He's great at math but his reading ability is very delayed. He has some fine motor delays and struggles with short term memory retention and due to his ADHD he also struggles with focus. He sometimes has bad moments socially because he is hyper focused on certain subjects and his peers don't always understand his minor compulsions and inflexibility. He does best with a set group of slightly younger friends but any drastic change in that dynamic can set him into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. Doctors have suggested mood stabilizers (medicine) could help but we really don't want to overmedicate a child so young. We've agreed only to his ADHD medicine and that only in limited doses when necessary for school. We don't love the way medicines make him lose his sparkle. But we do want to find a way to help him overcome barriers that cause him issue. Hence, puppy therapy! :) Otherwise, he's a healthy and sweet boy without a mean bone in his body.
One of Xander's greatest joys and stress reliefs was his dog. Xander loves animals and dogs are his favorite. The times I've seen Xander laugh the hardest (full belly laughs) was at something silly he was seeing a dog do. Sadly, at age 5 Xander's stepbrother Riley (who is the same age as Xander) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and we had to re-home all our pets (with our trusted friends) for hygiene reasons (as the pups had frequent potty accidents in home). We couldn't risk the pets bad hygiene and tendency to jump with our sons weakened immune system.
Xander still constantly talked about his old dog. How much he missed him. He still cries when he talks about it. We waited 3 years, for Riley to go into remission. Then, we decided it was time. We couldn't risk a large dog because Riley has weakened muscles in his legs and a port (for medicine) near his heart. A unruly large dog that jumped on Riley could hurt him badly. So, we opted for a small dog for Xander, and went to a local rescue. We got an adorable schnauzer mix named Wesley. Unfortunately, Wesley has more anxiety than Xander. He's fearful of kids, new people and being held. We thought he'd grow out of it, but that wasn't the case. While Wesley is sweet and we love him, he was a bad pick for Xander. Wesley refuses to sleep with Xander or cuddle him for more than a few seconds. When the kids rush him he can get so scared that he even nips lightly. So, Wesley became the adults dog. The biggest issue is that it's not just Wesley, most dogs tend to be nervous around Xander. He can be loud and all over the place and he isn't alpha in personality. So dogs tend to run all over him or run from him. Again, he needs a special dog made for a special boy.
We began the process of trying to look into getting a service dog. But we ran into 3 year waits and $25,000 in cost. We've already made Xander wait 3 years for Riley to improve, and it feels cruel to make him wait another 3 years. Also, the cost of raising two boys with special needs (Xander full time in our home and Riley joint custody with his biological mother) was too high to consider paying $25,000 for a pet. If we had $25,000 we'd need to put it into extra therapies or to Riley's Mom for future medical cost.
I had almost given up hope. But, then the Autism Service Dogs of America FB group sent me the link for Project2heal.org in North Carolina. They are an amazing organization that breeds beautiful well trained Labrador Retrievers (bred for the needs of disabled children) to then donate these dogs to Service Dog Training Groups for Special Needs children. They breed their dogs for personalities that will well suit children with physical/emotional disabilities.
This amazing group is willing to donate a puppy to Xander and train it (over one year, much better than three years) if we can come up with the cost to cover it's care/training for the year ($4,500) that they will need to prepare him for our family. They are a 501C3 nonprofit, doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. This is a blessing and a gift. We are so excited to have this chance. We got $1,900 between private donations and out families contribution. We needed only $2,600 via Go Fund Me.
If you can find it in your hearts or budget to give any little bit to help Xander be able to bring home a puppy that both him and his brother can enjoy together, that won't pose any risk to their health and bring them both years of happiness and healing, then please donate to our Go Fund Me. Thank you.
DonationsSee top donations
- Sheryl Bright
- Susan Mills
- Melissa Collins
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more