A Service Dog for David

Many of you know that our 4 year old son, David, has Aspergers, a form of Autism. The road ahead for an Autistic child is very difficult. It is heartbreaking to watch him struggle socially and emotionally .

Everyday life situations are painful for him and cause him such stress that he has meltdowns. Which sadly include head hitting, violence to himself and others along with great anxiety. When David is upset, he runs off.This puts him in extreme danger as he has no fear of cars and has a love of water.

A while ago we started looking into places that train dogs specifically to work with autistic kids. These dogs are amazing. They can sense the anxiety of a meltdown coming on, then can defuse the situation. The dogs can track and even be tethered to David, which makes his running away less dangerous. If David were in a repetitive behavior, like head hitting, the dog can respond and redirect him. The dog would comfort him in his bed at night so that he would have less nightmares. And of course ,since it is a service dog, it is that constant companion that gives a sense of security in a very scary world.

 Needless to say this kind of dog is expensive. Lots of research has lead to an organization that trains, then delivers these dogs. For families like mine that can not hop a plane and go to their training compound, though this does cost a little more. David often talks about dogs and our family truly believes this would be a turning point for David. To have a best friend by his side to help him through the struggles in life would be such a blessing to him and our family.

This is a long process, 6 to 18 months. This period includes being on a waiting list, matched with the right dog, then the training of that dog for the child's specific needs. The trainer can even come to the child's house and school to train. Our total cost is $11,000 ( which is a good cost, I saw many other organizations charging up tp 20,000!!!) The first 25% ($2,750) is due when the application is turned in and we are put on the waiting list. The next 25% (2,750) is due when our David is matched with the dog and it begins its training. The final 50% ($5,500) when the dog is being delivered. There is additional cost for having the trainer stay at a hotel in our area and train us with the dog.

This has not been and easy decision for our family to make. It is going to be difficult moving forward in the process financially. Would you please consider being a part of helping David get his best and most helpful friend? Click the donate button and enter any amount you would like to give. Every little bit helps and would mean so much to us. Also please share this on your facebook page to let others know about david.I cant wait to keep you posted as we continue in the process of changing Davids life... Thank you
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Nicole Renee Van Leeuwen
Covington, LA

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