Service Dog for Elizabeth

At the age of 2, Elizabeth was abused. Due to our broken court and child service system, the emotional abuse continued until the age of 4, as she was forced to see her abuser every week. Thankfully, I was allowed to supervise each visit to help protect her from never being alone with him but the emotional turmoil each visit caused her has now resulted in a long battle with PTSD and anxiety for Lizzy.

Elizabeth has been hard at work since the age of 3 with counseling, occupational therapy to help with sensory processing, speech therapy, and functional neurology working to rebuild the neurological pathways that were disrupted from the abuse. Beginning at the age of 8, Lizzy began utilizing medications to assist with the management of her symptoms. To date, we are on the 9th adjustment to the combination of medication and dose, attempting to find the right blend that will provide symptom relief without significant side effects. In addition to the “traditional” courses of treatment we have incorporated at various times; massage, acupuncture, yoga, mindfulness and religious counseling.

While Lizzy has improved to some degree with these various treatments, she still struggles daily. Each day, to varying degrees, Elizabeth struggles with anxiety attacks, fear, sadness and anger. Lizzy rarely sleeps a sound night sleep because she is worried someone will break into the house and take her. She struggles with new or unknown situations due to the same fears. School has created a new level of anxiety surrounding school work, tests and social interactions.

It was proposed to us at the age of 5 to obtain a service dog for Elizabeth. As a mother, I was filled with so many emotions 4 years ago. I did my research, I knew the cost would be more than I could cover myself. I was apprehensive to proceed forward and initiate fundraising because I knew I would have to share her story. I was worried that her classmates would learn of her history and tease or shun her. I was scared her abuser would return into our lives. And ultimately, I hoped and prayed that with the combination of treatments, Lizzy would be able to “recover” and not be in need of a service dog.

Our goal is to raise the funds to obtain a service dog. Services dogs provide significant support and therapy to both kids and veterans suffering from PTSD and anxiety. The dog will be trained to help circumvent stressful situations, be a protective barrier in new or uncomfortable situations and be her guard while sleeping so she can rest assured she will not be taken through the night. We as a family are hopeful that this dog in addition to the other treatments will provide Elizabeth the quality of life she deserves.

So I kindly ask for your support, prayers and love in helping Elizabeth achieve the funds necessary for a service dog. Our goal is to raise the required donation of $9000, every donation helps. Whether you personally know Elizabeth or were sent this by someone who does, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping Elizabeth.

God Bless,
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Sarah Stranko
Cleveland, OH

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