Her disability has imposed many challenges in her young life including communication and cognitive delays. She requires support with activities of daily living including personal hygiene, feeding, dressing. Additionally, she has mild hearing loss and requires vision correction. Although she is faced with so many challenges, the scariest one we have faced, as a family, poses the most danger to her safety and well being - elopement.
Due to her delays, Bella does not understand the concept of danger and often “elopes” or runs away. She requires close supervision at all times to ensure her safety at home, at school and in public. She has run away from our home, from her teachers at school and has gotten away from us many times in public places like the park and the grocery store. As difficult as it has been to manage Bella’s tendency to elope, we knew that her ability to be independent hangs in the balance if we were unable to find a solution to this very dangerous behavior.
Our family was recently introduced to an amazing organization, Dogs for Veterans which has provided us with a solution to Bella’s elopement: a service dog.
Bella’s service dog will be primarily tasked with safely providing her with more independence. In public, the dog will be tethered to Bella, who will have her own leash to hold, in addition to the leash of the handler. The dog will also anchor, or hold Bella in place, should she act on the impulse to run away. With more extensive training the dog will also be able to track Bella should she actually get away from us.
Socially, Bella's new best friend will help bring her acceptance into a community where she is already loved so much. We are thrilled at the thought of welcoming a service dog into our home for Bella but as you can imagine, a service dog comes with a pretty large price tag - $20,000 to be exact. With no contribution from medical insurance to help offset the cost, this is where we humbly ask for the support of our family, friends, loved ones and the generosity of our community. Every penny will help us toward our goal to get our sweet girl a service dog.
If you have any questions or would like additional information please reach out to us at [email redacted].
Thank you for your support for our sweet girl and her new best friend!
The Hlavaty Family
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