We have a daughter Summer, she is 3 years old and She is my inspiration for my blog and Facebook page. She is energetic, vivacious, smart, super funny and without a doubt, a force to be reckoned with!! Summer was diagnosed with Autism in June of 2014. Summer is fearless and the world is hers to be explored! She has come a long way. We couldn’t be more proud! Sam also has a 10-year-old son. Cam, who is an amazing big brother. He is laid back, super intelligent, a gamer fanatic and awesome student. I love being a mom and I will never stop being an advocate for Summer. I love being a “bonus mom” just as much. I love Cam as if he were my own. Our family of 4 co-reside with my parents, “mommom” and “grampie.” We have a nice little collection of pets. My family and I have always done what we could do in regards to “animal rescue.” At our small barn we now have; 3 horses, a few barn kitties, 2 ducks, 2 chickens, at our house we have; 2 dogs, 14 cats and a partridge in a pear tree!! I’m a preschool teacher and truly enjoy my job and working with children.
This is our life, our story, and our adventures!
Summer uses most of her energy trying to understand a world that seems confusing to her. Her brain is wired differently and much of what we take for granted can be physically and mentally stressing for her. Normal situations like trips to the grocery store, going to day care, family functions, appointments, and social events require a team effort because they can overwhelm her in a way that no one realizes. Safety is the main concerns for Summer’s parents because of her reactions out in public and in social settings. She is known to take off at full speed towards something that grabs her attention, she tries to run away seeking the comfort of freedom itself, or she attempts to quietly slip away unnoticed. All forms of elopement are extremely dangerous because she doesn’t turn around. She is not afraid of what dangers are ahead of her because it’s as if she has no fear of anything at all. She has a natural trust of everyone and everything, which is frightening for her parents. She does not have the ability to tell someone who she is or where she lives. Summer does not appropriately process danger or unsafe situations the same as most.
In order to keep her safe, we reached out to 4 Paws for Ability to apply for an Autism Assistance Dog. 4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to place quality service dogs with children with various disabilities and veterans who have lost their use of limbs or their hearing. Our family partnered with 4 Paws for Ability as volunteers to qualify for a free service dog for Summer.
We are very thankful to have the opportunity to have partnered with this extremely commendable organization. We feel that a service dog will aid to keep Summer safe, make her feel secure, provide her with comfort during times of distress, and give her the much needed deep pressure she may need when the world around her gets to be too much. A service dog will help guide our girl in the navigation of this at times, overwhelming life. I don’t know if Summer will ever develop an appropriate fear of the unknown, I don’t know if she will learn to control her emotions on her own, and I don’t know how much language she will eventually acquire. For now, she needs assistance with making her way through this world. We feel a service dog can help provide that for her.
4 Paws for Ability believes service dogs should be made available to any child with a disability who wishes to have the love, companionship, and independence that are the result of service dog placement. It was the first agency in the United States to begin placing highly skilled Autism Assistance Dogs and the first agency known to place these assistance dogs with tracking skills. 4 Paws specialize in placements with children who are turned away by many other agencies. It has no eligibility requirements beyond a physician’s statement that the person requesting a service dog has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It finds creative, innovative means of assisting children and their families. The cost to train and place a service dog is anywhere from $22,000 – $46,000. However, the families engage in fundraising activities as volunteers for 4 Paws to qualify for a free service dog. Each family is asked to help raise at least $15,000.
Our family was blessed to have had an anonymous donor donate the remaining funds needed for us to reach our fundraising goal!
SoOo…WE DID IT! WE REACHED OUR GOAL
That’s right, SUMMER IS GETTING HER SERVICE DOG!!!
WE WILL BE IN THE 4 PAWS FOR ABILITY 2017 CLASS!!
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