There are many issues that arise from Thor’s disabilities that make living each day difficult, both for Thor and myself (I’m a single parent). Currently, I cannot let Thor go for even a second because he will run - usually towards traffic. His severe anxiety cause him to run away and hide even when out in public, and he also self injures (hitting, slapping, pinching himself and even banging his head on hard surfaces).
How will a service dog help?
A service dog would allow Thor the ability to have more freedom when we are in public by having him tethered to the dog and being able to walk along side the dog, rather than being carried or strapped in a stroller. A service dog would also be able to track and retrieve Thor if he were to get away from me, comfort him when he is upset or having a meltdown, and keep him from dangerous activities and bad behaviors (such as hitting himself or banging his head on hard surfaces - for which he requires a helmet right now). It would give me another set of eyes to keep Thor safe.
4 Paws for Ability takes a child with Autism and all the difficulties they have with verbalization, communication, and social relationships and pairs them with a well trained service dog specifically trained to meet their unique needs; to create a consistency in the child's life as their dogs go every where that they go, even within places of public accommodation, and the educational system bringing along with them: consistency, stability, and calm reassurance that the feelings of anxiety or fear are not needed because their trusted buddy is by their side.
You can learn more about what an Autism Assistance Dog is and how, specifically, it will help Thor by reading the FAQ: What is an Autism Assistance Dog? page.
Once accepted into the program*, I will have to raise $13,000 to help off-set the costs of training Thor's service dog. After the initial fundraising, it will take 9 months to train a dog tailored to Thor's specific needs. Once a dog is chosen and trained for him, we will have to travel to Ohio (from Quesnel BC, Canada) to attend an 11 day training course where I will learn to be the dog's handler, and Thor will bond with his new buddy.
Thank you for following our journey!
*We've been accepted into the program and are in full-swing fundraising mode! Please visit the "How to Donate" page to learn more, or contact me with any ideas, questions, or comments you may have.