Shelby's Service Dog Fund

Shelby Burns is a twenty year old young woman who suffers from POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a type of dysautonomia), EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3 or joint hypermobility syndrome), and UCTD (undifferentiated connective tissue disease, a not well-known or researched autoimmune disease). These three illnesses are chronic, meaning they are treated symptomatically and there is no cure yet. She’s been living with them for most of her life.

Her POTS deregulates her autonomic nervous system, this means it affects everything her body should do without thinking about such as her heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, digestion, etc. Because she is so orthostatic intolerant, it means that she can’t stand too long without her blood pressure dropping and her heart rate going up a significant amount (sometimes up to 200 bpm). This causes dizziness, headaches, chronic fatigue, nausea, and sometimes even falling unconscious. Most days, she uses a rollator walker to help conserve her energy and make sure she always has a place to sit down if she starts feeling lightheaded.

Ehlers Danlos is a type of genetic condition that affects your skin, joints, and all other connective tissue in your body. Shelby’s main complaint is that almost all of her joints subluxate multiple times a day. This causes severe chronic pain that makes her unable to sleep and do simple everyday tasks. Even something as simple as reaching over her head or rolling over in bed causes partial to full dislocation of shoulders and excruciating pain.

Because of her conditions, it makes it almost impossible to be on her own. As a nineteen year old she wants nothing more than to be as independent as possible but because of her illnesses it makes her hard to be able to do things on her own. She is unable to go out alone for constant, realistic fear of passing out and hurting herself, dislocating a joint and not being able to get the help that she needs, etc.

This is why she has started the application process to receive a service dog! Everyone in her life thinks this will help her greatly, including her doctors. It will provide her with a sense of independence and safety that she doesn’t currently have. She would be able to go out on her own, be more independent, etc. A service dog will not only bring her the physical help that she needs, but also help her gain confidence that she doesn’t currently have. There are a myriad of ways a service dog will help her mainly, cardiac alert, mobility, picking up things to stop her from bending over, opening and holding doors, etc.

She is in the midst of working with a foundation that can train a dog specially to her needs. They are one of the few foundations on the east coast that trains cardiac alert dogs which is something she really needs. Unfortunately, even though she is using a well known foundation, if she is chosen, there is a required minimum donation of $1,000. Most people don’t realize that the full two-year process of placing a service dog with a handler costs the foundation an average of $27,000 PER DOG! This is why we are starting a donation page!

All donations will go straight to her service dog fund, which means that it will go directly toward the $1,000 that she will donate to the foundation once she is matched with a dog. Any extra, generous donations, will go toward travel expenses (she will be meeting with the foundation in person for the first time in November 2017), lodging during the 3 week training if placed with a dog, transportation during that time, purchasing gear (harnesses, leashes, etc.), and more. Just these costs alone are estimated by the foundation to add up to an additional $2,500.

The foundation requests that the applicants don’t represent themselves as someone who is definitely receiving a service dog from them, in case there is no match or something falls through,etc., until they receive their formal placement letter and are matched with a specific dog. In the event of this, all funds would go toward the next step of applying to another foundation and updating this page with that foundation’s protocol and requests.

We hope that you can help us reach this goal and even if you can’t donate, please share this page so we can spread the word!

Keep your eye out on this page for future updates and we thank you for even just doing something as simple as sharing this!

-Hunter Wildnauer


 See top
  • St. Paul's Bible Study 
    • $500 (Offline)
    • 32 mos
  • Adrianna Ochs 
    • $23 
    • 36 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 39 mos
  • Adrianna Ochs 
    • $15 
    • 39 mos
  • Ronald Hocking 
    • $50 
    • 39 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Hunter Elizabeth Wildnauer 
Whitesboro, NY
Shelby Burns 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more